This play had a colorful background and alot of potential,but it is so overwritten and overproduced that it winds up drowning in its excesses.In its attempt to be vibrant it winds up being just plain dull.
Sorry to say its over! Just saw the final performance. A Free Man of Color was riveting,engaging,funny,poignant,intelligent,sad, gorgeous to watch, clever,physical,visceral, A masterpiece of writing and acting. Bravo to Mr.Guare, Jeffrey Wright and Mos. Really remarkable.
If I could have left even earlier then I would have. Unfortunately, we were in the front row so leaving would have been hard. Worse than Women on a Verge - a lot worse.
I wouldnt have gone to see it based on the reviews and Im glad I ignored them. This play was like a collage--brilliant color, writing, acting. It takes risks which is like a breath of fresh air. The story iis an American as the Horatio Alger story but one less often told. If you can tolerate having more going on in front of you then you can take in all at once, and love brilliant acting and writing, dont miss this. Im going again.
Granted: the play is uneven and act one is all over the place. But its visually stunning and the acting is excellent. Act two makes up for act one. iIts a very moving play and it will make you think about racism and American history in a different way. GO SEE IT!!
a real mish mash. A few good laughs. Way too long and incohesive. Not bad if you can get free tickets but dont waste your money and buy full price ones.
Part Restoration Comedy and part panoramic saga, A Free Man of Color doesn?t seem to know what it wants to be. Ultimately neither fish nor fowl, it proves to be a great disappointment. Originally commissioned by The Public Theater in 2002 to write an epic play on race and class in New Orleans circa 1801, Guare submitted his initial draft to George C. Wolfe, then head of the Public, in 2004. That draft ran to 250 pages and, had the play been produced as then written, it would have run for five hours. Unfortunately, the Public?s attempt to convince Guare to cut it down to size was so at odds with Guare?s own vision of the play that the Public ultimately canceled its plans to produce it and the play was picked up by Lincoln Center where it has just opened with Wolfe still involved as director. Under Wolfe?s prodding, the play has been cut back extensively so that it now runs just two and a half hours. But the price paid for that editing job has been enormous. The net result is that the play now comes across as two distinctly different plays, badly cobbled together. The play?s first act is a hodgepodge of a Restoration Comedy or perhaps a parody of a Restoration Comedy with all the rhyming couplets, ribald humor, swooning insatiable frustrated wives, cuckolded husbands and adolescent references to Jacque Cornet?s Jeffrey Wright?s superior phallic endowment that we have come to expect of that genre. But the second act, in an apparent attempt at retaining Guare?s epic vision, spans the world, transitioning abruptly from New Orleans to Washington D.C. to Sante Domingue to France and back again, centering on the events leading up to the Louisiana Purchase and its subsequent social, racial and geopolitical consequences. Worse yet, the entire olio is liberally sprinkled with satirical buffoonish appearances by virtually anyone of note at the time who might have entered Guare?s mind: Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Napoleon Bonaparte, Josephine, Tallyrand, Georges Feydeau, Meriwether Lewis, Robert Livingston, Walter Reed, King Carlos Cuarto and more indeed, the total cast comes to 33 with several actors playing more than one role. Guare?s error and by extension Wolfe?s and Lincoln Center?s, I think was to refuse to make the difficult choice between settling for a thematically much smaller and more manageable play, on the one hand, or retaining the epic sweep of Guare?s initial vision and producing the play in all its original five hours grandeur - perhaps over a period of days as a trilogy in the fashion of Tom Stoppard?s epic and very successful The Coast of Utopia. Either of those approaches just might have worked but this attempt at doing it all in one appears to have been doomed to failure. You can read my reviews of several other shows, both on and off Broadway, on my blog www.aseatontheaisle.blogspot.com
Great acting and fun! You also learn a lot American history. Go see it!
I am a theatre hound. I love serious drama, comedy, musicals. Ive seen all the plays of August Wilson, most of Mamet, laughed out loud at Waiting For Godot which wasnt funny when I read it in college and seen House of Blue Leaves, Bosoms and Neglect and Six Degrees of Separation and enjoyed them all. I HATED A Free Man of Color. I expected some intelligent exegesis of the life of a black freeman in pre-Jeffersonia Louisiana and the consequences of the Louisiana Purchase upon his life. I got a broad, grotesque sex farce. If I had wanted to go to "Noises Off," I woulds have bought tickets to Noises Off. I walked out after the first act. I have never done that in my life. Dreadful