New York Theatre Workshop Next Door, Manhattan

By Andrew Andrews

Producer Lucy Jackson, director Jess Chayes and playwright Helen Banner present Intelligence, in collaboration with Dutch Kills Theater at Next Door @ NYTW. Original photo by Kent Meister.

If you’ve spent much time in Washington, DC, you know there’s a certain mentality to the career-minded people there.

Unlike the “work hard, play hard” ethic attributed to New Yorkers, the bureaucrats of The District seem to thrive on learning the rules and following them carefully.

When a political outsider makes a name for themselves in the system, the policy wonks are never quite sure how to handle it.

Sarah MacIntyre (Rachel Pickup) is such an outsider. She’s the Uma Thurman of diplomatic relations, developing a new handbook entitled New Training Scenarios for the Resolution of Intractable Global Situations for the State Department.

Lee Culvert (Kaliswa Brewster) and Paige Smith (Amelia Pedlow) are her wonks. Lee is excited to work with her. Paige, not so much.

When Sarah finally enters the “shitty, hot, smelly room” to “do something amazing,” the meeting of the minds and the clashing of personalities fills the beautifully-banal conference room (Caroyln Mraz) with enough discourse to make the most implanted Washingtonian cringe.

Written by Helen Banner and directed by Jess Chayes for Lucy Jackson and Dutch Kills Theater, Intelligence doesn’t just pass the Bechdel-Wallace test, it raises the bar for what a feminist production can be.

Exploring the relationships within and between genders in both the first and third worlds without ever delving into romance, this story proves that “three smart women thinking about the world” can be a commanding situation in hands of the right people.

With Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, Sinan Refik Zafar, Sophia Choi and Jess Cummings rounding out the production staff with their own contributions of the highest quality, Intelligence delivers a flawless performance full of thirty-two ounce coffees, role-playing and a window-shattering scream that will jerk you out of your seat.

Check it out, then come back and tell us how much you enjoyed this meeting from hell. We’ll use your feedback to find future performances that help you Do More of What You Love!™

Andrew Andrews attended Intelligence at New York Theatre Workshop Next Door in Manhattan on Sunday, January 13, 2019 @ 7:00pm to write this review.