Reviews: Here's What Critics Think of Ensemble Studio Theatre's Smart | Playbill

The Verdict Reviews: Here's What Critics Think of Ensemble Studio Theatre's Smart

The Mary Elizabeth Hamilton play follows a woman who turns to an AI for help taking care of her sick mother—and the dangers it presents.

Critics are sharing their thoughts on Mary Elizabeth Hamilton's Smart. Ensemble Studio Theatre presents the play which explores the benefits and pitfalls of technology in the responsibility of caregiving. Previews began March 30 for the Off-Broadway work which opened April 6, and is set to run through April 23.

Elaine is responsible for taking care of her cranky and ill mother Ruth. Ruth doesn't want aides in the house, but Elaine needs help so she can go to work. Enter "Jenny," a smart device Elaine buys to babysit and keep her mom company that gives Elaine a way to check on Ruth. Jenny becomes part of the family—but who else is listening? Starring are Christine Farrell, Francesca Fernandez, and Kea Trevett.

Read the reviews here.

New York Stage Review (David Finkle)

The New York Times (Naveen Kumar)*

TheaterMania (Pete Hempstead)

*This review may require creating a free account or a paid subscription.

Playbill will continue to update this list as reviews come in.

Matt Dickson directs the production which features scenic design by Ant Ma, lighting design by Colleen Doherty, costume design by Megan Rutherford, props design by Caitlyn Murphy, and sound design by Josh Samuels.

“Mary's play is about new tech and privacy, about loneliness and connection in the city, about mothers and daughters—she ties those threads together with humor and warmth, and an ache that stays with you long after the play is over,” said EST's Co-Artistic Director Graeme Gillis in a statement. “We've been working on this play with Mary for nearly five years, but the story it tells is very much of this moment. It's very much a play about life right now."

Smart marks Hamilton's Off-Broadway debut. The play is so-produced with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It was originally commissioned and developed through the EST/Sloan Project, a program organized by the Off-Broadway theatre and the foundation.



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