Highlighted and Annotated Reviews:
Questions, Concerns, Connections
  • I am disturbed by the amount of reviews that use the term cutter to sum up Kayleen and one lovely reviewer from 2012 said, “a song to slit your wrists by.” It’s unfathomable how prevalent stigma and judgement still are. How do we help people understand cutting? How can we define Kayleen by more than a “cutter?” How do we help people see beyond what they have not experienced so that they don’t write her off as crazy? (Note, this seems to fade through the years. It is very heavy pre-2014.)

  • The show encourages audiences to share their stories. After watching it, you think about your own gruesome injuries. Joseph hoped to create a conversation in which people began discussing pain.

  • Critics cannot grapple with the ending, accusing it of being cheap and unbelievable. How do we make it clear and effective?

  • It has gotten considerably bad reviews consistently for lack of depth and believability and being too thin to take on its theme. My argument against this is that GPI is not about real people- it is bigger than this play. They are representatives for physical and mental illnesses, people learning to be adults, and people learning to move on and communicate. This isn’t about two people, it isn’t about a love story- it is about creating a dialogue and allowing the audience to see themselves in one of the characters and recognizing the mistakes in their own lives.

  • Many many comparisons to Romeo and Juliet. Are they star-crossed? Does Kayleen actually love him? Are we supposed to believe they are meant to be together or that their relationship is toxic? How much of their relationship is legitimate vs obsessive and built on dependence and using each other?

  • There are mixed notes on the time structure. Some argue that it gives the audience an interesting perspective, some that it makes it more confusing. The Guardian calls it “a ruse to excuse the need to fill in the gaps.” Another review said, “It appears that the story is told out of order to disguise the fact that there just isn’t much of a story here.” I have to agree. It’s a lot of exposition.

  • Critics agree that the most intimate and most effective part of the performance are the scene changes.

  • “We sense the connection. We may not understand it. They almost certainly do not. But these two actors show it, breathe it, live it for those ninety minutes.” -On Hudson Backstage, 2016

  • Hudson Backstage- Los Angeles

    • Director: John Hindman

    • Actors: Jeff Ward and Sara Rae Foster

    • Set: projections of images that invoke a sense of time

  • Theatre Lab- Washington, DC

    • Director: Adin Walker

    • Actors: Alexander Scelso and Sofiya Cheyenne

  • Pacific Theatre- Vancouver

    • Director: Chelsea Haberlin

    • Actors: Kenton Klassen and Pippa Johnstone

  • Teatro Circulo- New York City

    • Director: Ash Mayfair

    • Actors: Jaz Depatos and Priyank Rastogi

  • Rogue Machine Theatre- Los Angeles

    • Director: Larissa Kokernot

    • Actors: Brad Fleischer and Jules Willcox

    • Set: Audience sits on bleachers, projects ages and scene titles

  • Gate Theatre- London

    • Director: Justin Audibert

    • Actors: Felix Scott and Mariah Gale

  • Second Thought Theatre- Dallas, TX

    • Director: Joel Ferrell

    • Actors: Montgomery Sutton and Jessica Renee Russell

  • Sundown Collaborative Theatre- Denton, TX

    • Director: Nick Ross

    • Actors: Travis Stuebing and Mikaela Krantz

    • Set: in dance studio, scene names posted, ages posted, pop music

  • Street Corner Arts- Austin, TX

    • Director: A. Skola Summers

    • Actors: Benjamin Summers and Molly Karrasch

    • Set: Their bedroom, filled with pop culture

  • Heat & Hot Water Productions- Vermont

    • Director: Mark Alan Gordon

    • Actors: Jordan Gullikson and Chris Caswell

    • Set: whiteboard with scene and age written

  • Ensemble Theatre- Cleveland

    • Director: Fred Sternfeld

    • Actors: Dan Folino and Celeste Cosentino

  • Second Stage Theatre- Off-Broadway

    • Director: Scott Ellis

    • Actors: Pablo Schreiber and Jennifer Carpenter

    • Set: LEDs, projected titles, antiseptic

  • Mixed Blood Theatre- Minneapolis

    • Director: Aditi Kapil

    • Actors: Nic Zapko and Alexandria Wailes

    • Concept: Deaf lesbians using ASL

  • Theatre Exile- Philadelphia

    • Director: Deborah Block

    • Actors: Keith Conallen and Charlotte Ford

    • Set: Hopscotch course with a baseball scoreboard to mark ages

  • Woolly Mammoth Theatre- Washington, DC

    • Director: John Vreeke

    • Actors: Tim Getman and Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey

    • Set: Ice rink with scoreboard showing ages

  • Premiere: Alley Theatre- Houston, TX

    • Director: Rebecca Taichman

    • Actors: Brad Fleischer and Selma Blair

    • Set: Water basin for cleaning, bottle with red blood

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