Jacob’s House Reviews

Jacob’s House Reviews
2010 Flux Theatre Ensemble Production

“Schulenburg writes with intelligence and humor (even throwing in a bit of slapstick), and the result is an unusual drama that is both thought-provoking and entertaining… The characters are complex, the story is compelling, and the language ranges from good to gorgeous. The play is a remarkable achievement…”
-Wendy Caster, Show Showdown

“Schulenburg makes several convincing moral judgments of his own, chronicling this American family’s rise in fortune. Combining a dysfunctional family with old-time religion and mythic America makes for rich metaphors and juicy theatre. Flux wrestled outside forces and won.”
-Patricia Contino, Flavorpill

“Tamar’s spooky story of Jacob’s death — how he slowly traded parts of his body, and then his mind, to an angel for more life, until he became death himself or, perhaps vice versa — is better than any Bible story, as good as even a superior episode of “The Twilight Zone.”…And there’s another play to which a favorable comparison can be made: “Enron.” The multimillion-dollar extravaganza that quickly closed on Broadway also purported to expose American corruption in a fantastical style, only to emerge as obvious and inflated. To anyone willing to travel downtown, climb four flights and sweat a little, the intrepid “Jacob’s House” will say more with a lot less about the American idea.”
-Laurence Klavan, The Jewish Daily Forward

“The best scenes of the play crackle with sincere poetry…Mr. Schulenburg accurately captures the ambiguity of Jacob’s achievement as the third and most important patriarch of Israel: he is both the founder and the original sinner, the parvenu and carpetbagger who gave rise to the twelve tribes; he is the kind of guy who cracks a whole lot of eggs to make his self-aggrandizing omelette. The most powerful passages of the play are when Laban, father of Jacob’s two future wives, describes his own experience wresting coherence and mastery from the recalcitrant wilderness and the savages who live there…the whole the play gives an accurate feeling of the tragedy witnessed by the Angel of History. And of course, it is not only our history, the history of John Brown and his contemporary descendants in the Tea Party movement; it is also the history of any people who consider themselves “chosen” to shape the destiny of mankind, no matter what the human cost.”
-Will Kenton, Cultural Capitol

“What works, and works well, is the trickster folklore that Schulenburg has appropriated, especially the way he has transformed Jacob into the ultimate con artist. The finest scenes in the play focus around tricks—like the stealing of the birthright—and these are always entertaining bits, bits that also say a lot about Modern America and the pride we take in unethical loopholes.”
-Aaron Riccio, That Sounds Cool

“August Schulenburg is physically incapable of writing a bad play, even under circumstances which – to anyone else – would dictate otherwise.  Also, I’m pretty sure he’s using some sort of magic pen.”
-Karen Tortora-Lee, The Happiest Medium

“It’s an audacious and intriguing achievement…I found myself thinking hard about the differences between being chosen by God to found a nation, as the Bible tells us Jacob was, and deciding more or less on your own that God sanctions all your actions, as this American Jacob seems to do.”
-Martin Denton, nytheatre.com

“Specifically, there are two tales—where Dinah’s parents (unwittingly?) destroy her fiancé’s life (and in turn, Dinah’s chance of marrying the love of her life), and where Jacob bargains bits and pieces of himself with an angel for just a little more life during an extended chess game with Tamar—that are touching, heartbreaking and utterly absorbing. Thanks to the writing, directing and performances, theses scenes are almost worth the price of admission alone…Jacob’s House makes for a night of compelling and fascinating theatre.”
-James Comtois, Jamespeak

“What is probably most interesting about this script is how incredibly intelligent it is. It takes a bible story and turns it into an accessible tale of family and legacy. Beyond that Schulenburg writes the kind of dialogue one can see lasting through the ages. The text is so poetic, it deserves its own study with lines that describe someone’s future as being a wine stain amongst many other visceral images.”
-Michael Roderick, BroadwayWorld

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