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Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre

Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre

TaffyDavenport Profile Photo
TaffyDavenport
#1Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre
Posted: 9/11/23 at 5:53pm

From the Vineyard website:

A new play by JOHN J. CASWELL, JR.

Directed by RACHEL CHAVKIN

Starring DIANNE WIEST

Starring two-time Academy Award® winner Dianne Wiest as Meryl, and directed by Tony Award®-winning director Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown; Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812), John J. Caswell, Jr.’s (Wet Brain; Vineyard’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award) Scene Partners is a wildly theatrical, hilarious, and genre-twisting gallop through the experience of a woman reborn.

SYNOPSIS

Winter, 1985. 75-year-old Meryl ditches ice-cold Milwaukee for sunny Los Angeles, hell-bent on becoming a movie star. She’s got big dreams, a little money, and a whole lot of nerve. But will the world ever know her for who she really is?  Starring two-time Academy Award® winner Dianne Wiest as Meryl, and directed by Tony Award® -winning director Rachel Chavkin (HadestownNatasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812), John J. Caswell, Jr.’s (Wet Brain; Vineyard’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award) Scene Partners is a wildly theatrical, hilarious and genre-twisting gallop through the experience of a woman reborn.

TaffyDavenport Profile Photo
TaffyDavenport
#2Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre
Posted: 9/11/23 at 6:03pm

Public on sale begins tomorrow, with standard tickets priced at $79, premiums $99, and the first 2 rows $35, all plus fees. I took advantage of their 2-ticket preview deal, which offers any 2 preview performance non-premium seats for $45 each, no fees, and with exchange privileges, along with 4 additional no-fee guest tickets at $50 each.

https://vineyardtheatre.org/shows/scene-partners/

Updated On: 9/11/23 at 06:03 PM

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Jay Lerner-Z
#3Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre
Posted: 9/11/23 at 6:26pm

I would love to see this. Seems like a good chance to show off her comedic talents, not just the more sweet and earnest stuff she is known for. Anybody see her Winnie in Happy Days? How was she?


Beyoncé is not an ally. Actions speak louder than words, Mrs. Carter. #Dubai #$$$

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Play Esq.
#4Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre
Posted: 9/12/23 at 7:17am

She was absolutely phenomenal! I’ve seen Happy Days at least three times but Wiest’s performance is the only one I remember. Both captivating and funny! 

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Jay Lerner-Z
#5Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre
Posted: 9/12/23 at 9:49am

Thank you, I should have known. Silly question. Of course she was wonderful!


Beyoncé is not an ally. Actions speak louder than words, Mrs. Carter. #Dubai #$$$

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TaffyDavenport
#7Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre
Posted: 10/4/23 at 9:27am

SPBOX20 on the Vineyard website for $20 off regular seats from October 26 through November 11.

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Jordan Catalano
#8Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre
Posted: 11/14/23 at 10:05pm

I caught this tonight and enjoyed it quite a bit. It's an absolutely BIZARRE show, bordering on the absurd at times and was completely not at all what I was expecting. It reminded me quite a bit at times of my favorite play from last year, "You Will Get Sick", but I think that show was more fully realized than this one was. Weist, of course, is divine in this though, and makes it very much worth seeing just for an actress of her caliber taking a risk like this. It's a play I'd love to discuss with others if anyone else has seen it - there's a lot to think about and wrap my brain around here.

dan94
#9Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre
Posted: 11/14/23 at 11:30pm

I actually was also there tonight. A delightful bizarre borderline dadaist show.

I also got many similarities to You Will Be Sick, but I feel the opposite as you do. For me You Will Be Sick had such a wide scope that it started to lose the thread by the end. The scope was too wide and the conventions tired quickly. For a piece about a progressive illness I didn't totally get the sense of progression or completion (emotionally) by the end.

This had a more limited scope but as a result was able to hammer the point home. I was especially glad to see that considering I was not the biggest fan of this playwright's Wet Brain. Wet Brain was a play with a lot of fascinating ideas that I don't think ever managed to fully coalesce. I was glad to see him keep to his spirit here but focus on what really adds and what is superfluous.

Major Spoilers

 
Click Here To Toggle Spoiler Content

I thought the final reveal of the sister was cheap. I get why they did it, but in a play that was totally unexpected at every turn, that turn was expected.

I also question the decision of having such a meaty scene near the end, a scene that really explains the play, happen on screen. In many ways this play felt akin to White Girl In Danger for me - stage works that play around with screen conventions trying to create the feel of a series/miniseries/epic film on stage. This production went to great lengths to play with stage vs screen conventions, to question if the two could be meaningfully melded. And then when it came down to brass tacks and time to explain the piece, they abandoned the stage and fully went screen. I get why - Dianne Wiest gives a fantastic performance but does come off better on screen than on stage. But it still felt like a sort of cop out.

I got the sense the audience showed up to see Dianne Wiest in a light comedy. They seemed baffled and not too interested in what then occurred over the next 2 hours. Their loss - I thought it was pretty terrific. These weird works are exactly what make the theatre vital and worth constantly returning to for me.

Updated On: 11/14/23 at 11:30 PM

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CoffeeBreak
#10Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre
Posted: 11/14/23 at 11:44pm

Excited to see now with these reviews referencing You Will Get Sick - a play I also thought the most interesting & exciting of last year. 

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TaffyDavenport
#11Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre
Posted: 11/16/23 at 9:11am

Not a Critic's Pick, but a positive review from Jesse Green, particularly for Dianne Wiest:

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/15/theater/scene-partners-review-dianne-wiest.html

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raddersons
#12Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre
Posted: 11/22/23 at 12:32am

The “You Will Get Sick” comparisons piqued my interest enough for me to try the $20 standby line (I showed up at ~6pm and had a ticket by 6:45). It really is a show that leaves your head spinning, questioning what is real and what isn’t. More importantly, it makes you question whether or not the acting you’re watching is actually good, or if Dianne Wiest just playing an awful character. By the end you know it’s the latter, but it took time because you’re supposed to question that fact for the whole show.

I think the biggest flaw here is actually the direction. The text plays with film tropes and film quotes, but the stage is so blank you don’t actually feel committed to any of those bots and you lose part of what could be fun about something like this. Imagine if the noir pastiche went further than Dianne Wiest wearing a criminally unflattering trench coat.

You Will Get Sick may not have been tied up neatly in a bow, but it took some BIG swings that made it feel satisfying. Scene Partners should have a deeper emotional core about abuse and its effect on the mind and reality, but just flirts with ideas without committing to any of them. 

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raddersons
#13Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre
Posted: 11/22/23 at 1:58pm

Just read Sarah Holdren’s Vulture review and she basically echoed my thoughts and then some. I think it’s worth seeing because it’s taken up a lot of space in my brain in the past 17 hours, hah.

https://www.vulture.com/2023/11/theater-review-scene-partners-chavkin-wiest-caswell.html

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TaffyDavenport
#14Dianne Wiest in SCENE PARTNERS at Vineyard Theatre
Posted: 12/3/23 at 3:16pm

The final 4 performances will be live-streamed, and access is $69:

https://vineyardtheatre.org/live-stream-scene-partners/


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