None of the Above
Sparkling performances, given by two actors and an author…
—John Simon, Bloomberg
Verbal and comedy sparks!
A small masterpiece.
Jamie, 17, a sophisticated New York City private school student, answers the door expecting her drug dealer—and instead finds her SAT tutor. First impressions are thrown out the window as these two get to know each other. This uptown comedy has been produced downtown, midtown, and around the country.
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NONE OF THE ABOVE premiered in New York City, produced by the theatre company New Georges (Susan Bernfield, Artistic Director; Sarah Cameron Sunde, Managing Director), at the Ohio Theatre. Alison Pill played Jamie and Kel O'Neill played Clark. The production stage manager was Alison Dingle. Amy Wilson played the role in the voiceover. The set was designed by Lauren Helpern. Julie Kramer directed.
NONE OF THE ABOVE was produced Off-Broadway by South Ark Stage Company (Rhoda Herrick, Producing Artistic Director), at the Lion Theatre on Theatre Row in New York City. It was directed by Julie Kramer. Halley Feiffer played Jamie and Adam Green played Clark. The production stage manager was Sarah Butke. Amy Wilson played the role in the voiceover. The understudies were Ryman Sneed and Zachary Robidas. The set was designed by Lauren Helpern.
Praise for None of the Above at the Lion Theatre:
Sparkling performances, given by two actors and an author…
—John Simon, Bloomberg
Jenny Lyn Bader's None of the Above, a two-hander featuring Halley Feiffer and Adam Green, hits all the right notes. It's smart, subtle, and very funny... To say that None of the Above has a future is an understatement. It's a small masterpiece…
The cleverest mind twister comedy "None of the Above" at the Lion on 42nd Street beats "Proof" and "Born Yesterday." Playwright Jenny Lyn Bader's gem boasts opposites Halley Feiffer and droll Adam Green to unravel the scintillating dialogue deliberately puzzling and entertaining....Teasing conundum? Endearingly intelligent? Addictive privilege? Brilliantly acted? Yes, all of the above in this hilarious multiple choice two act delight... But the story's bittersweet aspect secretly warms the pity he feels due to her parents' indifference. She pities him nailing the unfair contract that rewards him only if she succeeds on the test. How their understanding links the pair eclipsing any of the romances seen onstage in many an intellectual moon... a cerebral experience uniquely based on the playwright's research and director Julie Kramer's logical progression of mind and heart. Congratulations to South Ark Stage Company and the taste of their artistic director Rhoda Herrick selecting "None of the Above, " easily the best play of the season. Go!
—former Outer Critics Circle President Marjorie Gunner, Culvert Chronicles
Oh the risks one runs when trusting one's life to multiple choice.... having to compress knowledge into one of five reductive options - and God forbid one is the most negative, and negating, of them all. Yet the four words identifying that option can also be deceptively delightful when they constitute the title of Jenny Lyn Bader's highly enjoyable comedy, now being presented at the Lion Theatre. None of the Above is a deceptively complex comedy, drawing from so many advanced areas of study that you'd swear everyone in it was already well past having to worry about the SAT… No, Jamie (Halley Feiffer) and Clark (Adam Green), have college on the mind, but are far from done with it... their views about most subjects are greatly at odds - which creates the perfect environment for sparks to fly... a clever educational suspense story as written and acted...
Jenny Lyn Bader's cute and clever NONE OF THE ABOVE looks at the culture of the SAT's through a teen and her tutor…Verbal and comedy sparks!…plenty of charm and smarts here...
— NY1 News
If you can't snag top-tier tickets for the starry revival of Shaw's "Pygmalion" that opens Thursday on Broadway, you could do worse than wander down 42nd Street to the Lion Theatre and catch Jenny Lyn Bader's "None of the Above," a sprightly, often clever variation on the intellectual-makeover plot...as in Shaw's play, there's an unwitting mutual education and some flickers of romantic chemistry going on between Jamie (Halley Feiffer) and Clark (Adam Green)… both characters ultimately make a convincing journey from mutual distrust and disdain to a loose-fitting comfort, even intimacy… under Julie Kramer's direction, Feiffer and Green make an effortlessly appealing and complementary pair. the play's sympathy for this inarguably spoiled rich kid is perhaps its most disarming quality.
—Rob Kendt, Newsday
Bader has the kind of tart, cocky wit that can work a room... her dialogue is droll; it has attracted some vivacious young talent in Feiffer and Green, whom I’d happily pay to see again
— John Lahr, The New Yorker
One look at her all-pink bed room, and it's easy to see that the spoiled Upper East Side 17-year-old of "None of the Above" could give Elle of "Legally Blonde" a run for her money… genuinely amusing dialogue… two winning performances. Feiffer is a tall blond gamine who displays fine comic timing along with her sheer adorableness…
—Frank Scheck, The NY Post
fascinating....warm, human performances
two genuinely endearing characters with a common purpose and clever comedic timing… for a light-hearted, sometimes polysyllabic diversion, the answer is D: None of the Above
—New Theater Corps
In a romantic comedy with an edge, and even a message, playwright Jenny Lyn Bader has created a play that is, at the same time, a Rocky-style come-from-behind “sports” story (picture Rocky training, not for a big fight, but for the SATs!), a coming of age tale that will speak to anyone who has ever had to jump through someone else’s insanely unreasonable hoops to get ahead, a perceptive study of a dysfunctional-family, and a look at a variety of addictions and how vulnerable we all can be to them... The amazing thing is that Bader mixes it all together so smoothly, even charmingly, so that we become involved with the two characters... What Bader has done, and quite cleverly at that, is make studying for the SATs, struggling to live up to the expectations of others in this particular way, and conforming to their values into a kind of extended metaphor for growing up, coming of age, reaching one’s potential, and getting tough with life...
Clever writing and convincing repartee... sophisticated humor... Lots of worlds and mathematical equations blend with vulnerabilities and life lessons to make None of the Above a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours. Go see it!
This attractive, likable duo has you feeling nostalgic for and repulsed by your own NoDoz- addled study sessions—you know, those "olden times" when a perfect score was 1600! ….after some of the most palpable chemistry on-stage this season, I haven't wanted two characters to just shut up and kiss so badly since the last episode of Gossip Girl. If given a multiple choice, be sure to check None of the Above!
Jenny Lyn Bader's two-hander None of the Above... immeasurably enhanced by stars Halley Feiffer and Adam Green and Julie Kramer's deft direction... they play off each other with the kind of comic and sexual chemistry common to long-standing teams.
But the best moment of the month may have come from playwright Jenny Lyn Bader in None of the Above. Her lead character is Jamie, a spoiled-rich kid who did poorly on her last SAT because drank herself blind the night before. Now it’s do or fail, and she’s being tutored by a whiz her father hired. During one session, Jamie tells him of the time when a magician appeared at one of her childhood birthday parties, and really did make good on the magic part of his title by disappearing into thin air. They looked everywhere for him — “even in the room where daddy was sleeping.” Now that’s smart writing … gets us to feel bad for Jamie, especially because even she doesn’t see the sadness in the detail. If she’s inured this much to her father’s lack of love, then we want to give her some of ours.
—Peter Filichia, Theatremania column
Praise for None of the Above at New Georges:
diverting...lively—The New York Times
a snappy new comedy—The New Yorker
a great play to really kick off the spring
one of the most entertaining evenings I have had… this season, anywhere—The Westsider
Beguiling—American Theater Web.com
New Georges presents a snappy new comedy by the playwright Jenny Lyn Bader about the risks people end up taking when they’re trying to safeguard themselves... With wit and candor, the two characters, brilliantly played to type by both actors, deftly dissect entitlement, intelligence, and isosceles triangles.
—The New Yorker
After they meet cute… sexual tension vibrates beneath their verbal barbs. Under Jamie's clever interrogation, Clark an impecunious grad student — reveals that he has made a breathtaking all-or-nothing wager with her father that Jamie will achieve a 1600 on her SATs. Jamie labels this a "Faustian bargain." When Clark demurs, she builds a convincing analogy, just like the ones in their practice test book. Their rapid-fire repartee shoots typical test vocab words back and forth in witty exchanges. For the heritage of this kind of coupling, think Pygmalion. Or conjure any old flick where a street-smart Clark Gable gives some hoity-toity society dame a few real-life lessons. Now update. …To borrow a few words from their SAT test… Pill and O'Neill are so affable and their wrangling so piquant that you hanker to capitulate to this thoroughly recreative endeavor.
—The Village Voice
This two-hander, with great roles for young actors, has a liveliness that is refreshing... Playwright Bader provides a creatively original plot line while molding her two youthful protagonists into appealing, rounded characters…As Jamie matures in front of our eyes… we have Faustian bargains, entitlement, number obsession, the nature of risk, the perfect pink dress, and the Rational Choice Theory -- not your usual boy-girl banter… Bader's dialogue has conviction and her character development shows a remarkably restrained hand. This play kicks off the 11th season for New Georges… In Jenny Lyn Bader, they have uncovered an original talent…
Absolutely delightful and totally original… We’re tired of theatergoers complaining that the theatre isn’t entertaining anymore. We also scorn critics who say comedy is dead… Not true. None of the Above is beautifully structured, well developed in terms of its two characters, and, most amazing of all, consistently funny and surprising… The writing and directing are so skillful that we feel we come to know both of Jamie’s parents (through their phone calls) without meeting them. This piece has an undeniable appeal for regional theatres everywhere.
—The Compulsive Theatregoer, Theatrescope: The Insider’s Guide
One of the surprises in store in Jenny Lyn Bader's bubbly new comedy at the Ohio Theatre, None of the Above, is that it makes the SAT as funny as it does; that it finds time to examine a number of weighty psychological subjects and imbue them with humor is more remarkable still… None of the Above is a great play to really kick off the spring - a breezy, almost-romantic comedy that, for two hours, will keep the sun brightly shining.
During the rush of Broadway openings before the Tony deadline, three… off-off-Broadway shows appeared which deserve a mention. None of the Above by Jenny Lyn Bader has received a fine production at New Georges… The energetic mounting and clever script deserve a wider audience.
None of the Above is both retro and up-to-the-minute; one of these days Bader is going to write a Broadway-ready comedy.
—Entertainment Design Magazine
Elegant dialogue, sophisticated and refined.
…One of the most entertaining evenings I have had at New Georges; indeed, this season, anywhere… The play has a delightfully original premise… fine acting by Alison Pill as Jamie and by Kel O’Neill as her indefatigable coach, Clark. These are two very fine young actors, perfectly cast for their roles, and wonderfully directed by Julie Kramer…
The show examines the moral challenges of the SATs, using highly animated, extreme characters to cleverly illustrate these serious themes within a comic plot… students will finally have None of the Above to speak out for them!
—Theatre Development Fund (TDF)’s Play by Play: The Theatre Newsletter by and for Teens
I thoroughly loved it!
—“Hi! Drama,” Time Warner/RCN Cable TV
A beguiling and often very funny look at entitlement, addiction, and young love.
—American Theater Web.com
Reviews of the published play None of the Above, in the anthology Under Thirty: Plays for a New Generation (Vintage):
Playwright-editors Lane and Shengold have assembled five full-length plays, 11 shorter plays, and excerpts from four plays, all written for actors under 30… Jessica Goldberg's "Refuge," Jenny Lyn Bader's "None of the Above," and Carolyn Gage's "Harriet Tubman Visits a Therapist" are all standouts. Disaffection and alienation are present throughout, but so is a sense of humor. Academic and public libraries will see a lot of circulation of this book… fresh and gripping...
—Library Journal, reviewing Under Thirty: Plays for a New Generation (Vintage)
This collection offers thespians plenty of characters to portray in situations that crackle with teen appeal. Jenny Lyn Bader's None of the Above presents two students battling not only the demands of SAT preparation, but also what each of them believes that the other values about earning top marks. In Allison Moore's Cowtown, two sisters move from the city to a suburb where they meet farm kids and a new kind of social pressure. Many of these plays feature ribald remarks, suggestive possibilities, and sexual identities of many hues. All are well constructed and each has been performed professionally… libraries serving sophisticated theater audiences will definitely want this collection.
—School Library Journal, reviewing Under Thirty: Plays for a New Generation