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  Witch at Geffen Playhouse


Geffen Playhouse
10886 Le Conte Avenue Los Angeles

Witches have always captured our imagination — real and even more so, the not-so-real. Jen Silverman is a rising NYC playwright (her first book is on shelves, her first novel is coming in 2021) who tackles this always-interesting topic. Bonus: Grab a create-your-own ice cream sandwich at the local Westwood favorite, Diddy Riese.

Thru - Sep 29, 2019

Tuesdays: 8:00pm
Wednesdays: 8:00pm
Thursdays: 8:00pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:00pm & 7:00pm

Price: $60-$120

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 310-208-5454

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  Witch Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Los Angeles Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...She has played equally fast and loose with the other story lines, which initially come across as hilarious palate cleansers, filled with delicious visual surprises. Of course, a Faustian plot isn't complete without the comeuppance, and Jacobean writers really loved to pile on the agonies, but Silverman seems less interested in them, and the endings in "Witch" don't work as well as the beginnings. Cuddy's devolves into a cringe-inducing interpretive dance that seems to last forever. And in a play with such a feminist bent, it's a little deflating that the devil, rather than Elizabeth, gets the last word."
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Margaret Gray

LA Daily News - Highly Recommended

"...Marti Lyons directs this West Coast premiere. The play is superbly cast, with strong actors in each role. Silverman's scene endings are filmic rather than theatrical, so Lyons gets each subsequent scene on its feet instantaneously."
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Dany Margolies

Talkin Broadway - Highly Recommended

"...Marti Lyons' direction is focused and energetic, and she gets superb work from her cast, especially Von Vogt and Jonigkeit. However, an interpretive dance sequence toward the end of the play intended to change up the production's style, tries too hard and unfortunately doesn't work. Silverman's writing is some of the funniest I've experienced in years; it's sharp, the pace is propulsive, and the character work is deft. However, the two parallel storylines never quite sync up to anything bigger, and the comedic material is more successful than the dramatic moments."
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Terry Morgan

Broadway World - Recommended

"...Directed by Marti Lyons with choreography by Jessica Lee Keller and fight choreography by Steve Rankin, taking place in a time identified as "Then-ish but equally of our moment," we are taken into the lives of five people living in the quiet village of Edmunton, four of whom live in a castle with one an outcast living in alone in the woods after being labeled a "witch.""
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Shari Barrett

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Silverman’s script is full of dark humor that not only allows us to be fully engaged throughout the 95-minute one act, it helps to take in the heavier critique of modern times. The play’s universality comes in questions that have plagued man — or, at least, Faust — for millennia: For what are you willing to lose your soul? Is it worth it? Is it us who ultimately does the Devil’s work? Did the devil make us do it, or was he just a cattle prod? (We’re never really sure in Witch what becomes of the souls once the devil is in possession of them.)"
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Tony Frankel

Stage Scene LA - Highly Recommended

"...Is there something you want so badly that you’d give up your soul to get it? That is the question Jen Silverman poses in Witch, her devilishly clever, deliciously laugh-packed, decidedly dark look at gender, class, and the future of life as we know it, set way back in Jacobean England but told in a vernacular as contemporary as the latest Netflix hit."
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Steven Stanley

Total Theater - Recommended

"...Mixing modern slang with period talk, Silverman depicts mankind as grasping, greedy and duplicitous, except for the village witch, Elizabeth Sawyer (the gritty Maura Tierney), who is the only one in the village with any common decency. A feminist icon in Silverman's hands, she sees right through male pretense, patriarchy and chauvinism...and even rejects the blandishments of the devil when he comes on to her. Called Scratch (Evan Jonigkeit), this "junior" devil turns up in Edmonton like a traveling salesman, offering Faustian bargains to one and all: he'll do your bidding---make you rich, kill your enemies, etc.---in return for your soul. In Elizabeth's case, he is so smitten with her that he eventually goes against company rules. He'll give her love... with nothing expected in return. Tempted as she is, Elizabeth turns him down: she simply can't believe in men's words-or even in hope itself."
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Willard Manus

Cultural Weekly - Somewhat Recommended

"...While there's much to laud about this production, there seemed to be a disconnect between its message of empowerment and a reliance on old tropes and stereotypes. Elizabeth is smart and goes toe to toe with the devil. But it seems odd that such a smart independent thinker would have aspired to marry Sir Arthur and live in the castle. Winnifred seems to fare no better, putting up with shoddy treatment by the man she loves, even after his bald-faced betrayal. The role of Cuddy treads a little too close to the gay minstrel caricature. His sexuality is never explicitly addressed, but instead, it is a source of comic relief and derision, ending in violence and insanity. In a city where standing ovations are de rigueur and often obligatory, the lack of an ovation following the show felt like the audience wasn't entirely sure what to make of this thought-provoking but perplexing allegory. That being said, the writer is to be commended for tackling an ambitious project and trying to craft a meaningful allegory to frame contemporary issues."
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Steve Gottfried

Stage Raw - Highly Recommended

"...Witch, Jen Silverman's incisive illuminating play directed by Marti Lyons at Geffen Playhouse, draws inspiration from The Witch of Edmonton, a Jacobean melodrama conceived around the real-life tragedy of an elderly woman named Elizabeth Sawyer, burned as a witch in the British community of Edmonton in 1621. Collaborated on by three authors (William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford), this 17th century work was notable for casting the "witch" in a relatively sympathetic light given the era in which it was conceived. Rather than pure evil, Elizabeth is portrayed as a reviled outcast, driven to witchery by the cruelty and scorn of her neighbors."
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Deborah Klugman

Haines His Way - Highly Recommended

"...From Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost to Disney’s Fantasia and Broadway’s Damn Yankees, The Devil has been a popular character in books, music, film and stage works. He is often shown willing to grant a human whatever they may want in return for their soul. He is sort of like Aladdin’s Genie only with eternal damnation as the final reward. Playwright Jen Silverman has written a very funny, modern tinged take on Rowley, Dekker & Ford’s 1621 Jacobean play The Witch of Edmonton. The Geffen Playhouse is currently presenting Witch in their intimate Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater."
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Rob Stevens

On Stage and Screen - Highly Recommended

"...Lyons’s direction features perhaps the most creative use of the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, the Geffen’s smaller space, to date. Scenes with Elizabeth unfold on the ground level, inches away from the audience and very accessible, while the stage above extends for the scenes with the royal family, forcing you to quite literally look up to gaze upon them, emphasizing their higher status. While the costumes (Danae Iris McQueen) are period, the dialogue is purely modern, serving as a reminder that give or take a few details, the heart of this fable is rather timeless. The action clocks in at a tight 95 minutes that fly by so quickly it is a surprise when you realize the story has already reached its end."
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Erin Conley

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