The Revisionistby Jesse Eisenberg
The second play by award-winning actor and emerging playwright Jesse Eisenberg.
Jesse Eisenberg, known for his roles in The Social Network, Adventureland, and The Squid and the Whale, has written in his second play, The Revisionist, a stunning exploration of obsession, secrets, and the nature of family. Young writer David arrives in Poland with a crippling case of writer’s block and a desire to be left alone. His seventy-five-year-old second cousin Maria welcomes him with a fervent need to connect with her distant American family. As their relationship develops, she reveals details about her postwar past that test their ideas of what it means to be a family.
The Revisionist had its world premiere at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York in spring 2013, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Vanessa Redgrave and directed by Kip Fagan.
“A rewarding account of cultural collision that yields unexpected reflections on the centrality of family in our lives—whether we idealize them or take them for granted. . . . As a playwright, Eisenberg’s intentions seem clear. He takes a critical swipe at himself, and by extension, his entitled generation. . . . Stage acting doesn’t get much better.” —Hollywood Reporter
“Strange, wonderful and utterly unmatchable moments . . . Eisenberg . . . has written a beguilingly layered role.” —Ben Brantley, The New York Times
“Vanessa Redgrave is offering her costar Jesse Eisenberg an education not even the world’s finest drama school could provide. . . . [Eisenberg] is an emerging talent.” —Los Angeles Times
“It says a lot about Eisenberg—his extreme decency and his extreme neurosis—that the avatars he’s created for the stage are sadder and less admirable than the sly, nebbishy parts he’s played in movies. But that’s always been the fascinating paradox of Eisenberg’s life, the source of his strange charisma. He got into acting because it gave him a script at a time when he never knew what to say. Now his growing success only leaves him more exposed, his skin as thin as ever. It’s a paradox he should probably explore further, especially now that he’s writing scripts of his own.” —Boris Kachka, New York Magazine
“[Eisenberg] has a wry ear and a knack for unsentimental poignance that keep The Revisionist emotionally compelling. And to his credit, he avoids the tidy, comforting ending that his latest work could have accommodated, opting instead to raise uneasy questions about what Maria and David might have learned—or sacrificed—during their short time together.” —USA Today
“It’s a very extraordinary play. You can tell that straight off, after only two pages. . . . I could see that there were extraordinary histories that had produced these two [characters], who are so unalike. . . . [Eisenberg] reminds me of [the poet] Shelley. I don’t know if I can put it into words. A very inquiring mind, interested in everything and everybody. This is quite unusual. A very unique quality as an actor too.” —Vanessa Redgrave
“Eisenberg . . . plays an antic, obnoxious young New York author who has come to stay in a city near the Baltic with Redgrave’s Maria, a distant Polish cousin, in a vain effort to overcome writer’s block. The gulf of experience and language between them provides for comic moments but the theme is isolation.” —The Financial Times
“Getting to watch Redgrave in a tiny house was a highlight of the season and Eisenberg’s plot had a twist that still resonates months later.” —Blogcritics.org
“It’s a pure joy to watch Redgrave and Eisenberg as they spar, tiff and laugh together. . . . This small, unassuming play about large themes—survival, loneliness, family, empathy—offers plenty to think about, thanks to deeply human portrayals of two lost souls who connect, albeit only for a moment.” —Broad Street Review
“The manner in which this old woman harbors a secret past and deals with the complicated feelings aroused by her selfish young relative has given Redgrave an opportunity to put her full complement of gifts on display. When Maria’s patience finally wears thin at