On The Exhale

A brave and bold premise for a play – startlingly original! Marin Ireland is a delicate conduit for raw emotions. Watching her deliver… Zimmerman’s carefully wrought study of a mother undone by loss, you half expect her to crack and shatter before your eyes… rapturous and truly unholy.

–  The New York Times

Watching actress Marin Ireland in the one-woman show On the Exhale, you find it hard to breathe. For much of the short play, the emotion is so intense that (despite the title) you don’t want to inhale or exhale.

In this play about the horror—and fascination—of guns, no weapon is ever seen on the stage. But guns, and the American enthrallment with them, has never been better displayed.

Writer Martín Zimmerman’s powerful show about a woman devastated by the most tragic gun violence hits every emotion of fear, tragedy, loss, and revenge. But it never becomes predictable and offers enough twists to keep you constantly riveted.

– The Daily Beast

Ireland delivers a superbly restrained performance in this taut, powerful piece.

Plays that deal with white-hot social issues often devolve into polemics. But that is fortunately not the case with Martín Zimmerman’s one-person drama starring Marin Ireland as a young mother faced with what has sadly become an all-too-familiar tragedy. Dealing with the issue of gun violence in America in compelling fashion, On the Exhale never feels like it’s preaching to the choir.

Maintaining a relentless tension without lapsing into histrionics or melodrama, On the Exhale makes its points succinctly and intelligently. Ireland, one of New York theater’s most invaluable performers, delivers superb work that is all the more affecting for its carefully calibrated restraint. Leigh Silverman’s direction of the piece — performed on a bare stage in the Roundabout’s suitably intimate Black Box Theatre — is similarly understated.

– The Hollywood Reporter

The subject has been explored before, but never with this much emotional power. It’s a one-hour session in electroshock therapy without leaving your seat. . . . On the Exhale is a shattering experience in the presence of a cogent, captivating actress who deserves a bigger audience. See it and learn something.

– Observer.com

Has the power of a lead pipe landing on one’s gut. . . Zimmerman has a poet’s touch and a penetrating insight into the devastation that can be wrought by such a senseless death. . . . The most harrowing sixty minutes in New York at the moment.

– Lighting and Sound America

Remarkable. . . Where writer Martín Zimmerman and director Leigh Silverman guide the story has a depth and stunning resonance that reaches way beyond the internal place you use as a boundary line between you and the world out there. . . . Five stars.

– Front Row Center 

There were moments when I literally shook with the sorrow and the rage that having a beloved so savagely ripped away would arouse. It’s not that I didn’t know intellectually what the horror of such an experience might be but On the Exhale made me feel it, which is what good theater should do.

– Broadway & Me

FIVE STARS. The only other show to achieve this rating since initiating this blog has been Hamilton. . . . One of the most complete theatrical experiences that I have ever seen. This is in no small way a result of the extraordinary performance of Marin Ireland in association with this extremely well-crafted story written by Martín Zimmerman. This stripped down presentation will leave you wanting for nothing except perhaps a box of tissues. This is rare, must-see theater.

– Stage Write


Seven Spots On The Sun

Startling and visceral, Martín Zimmerman’s fablelike play, directed by Weyni Mengesha, is set in an unnamed Latin-American country and explores the brutalities of war and the confusions of recovery. The style is magical realism and it takes an unusually confident writer to sketch a junta and its aftermath in just eighty minutes. Zimmerman has that confidence.

– The New Yorker

This hauntingly beautiful play by rising young playwright Martín Zimmerman was utterly captivating. Told by an excellent cast comprised of a mini-Greek chorus and main characters, the play ponders the personal stakes of putting one’s body on the line to heal those wounded by war. . . The stakes were so high that by the end I was speechless. . . Five Stars.

– League of Cincinnati Theatres

‘Seven Spots on the Sun’ is a ferocious play. Martin Zimmerman’s text is fast-paced, and riddled with the wounds of humanity. . . . These elements come together into a play that is nothing short of harrowing. It runs a brisk eighty-five minutes, and manages to feel both longer and shorter than its runtime. Longer, in that it is so densely packed with plot and emotion that it feels biblical. Shorter, in that the production is so tightly staged and performed that there isn’t a second of dead air. ‘Seven Spots on the Sun’ is a wicked account of war and its consequences, full of raw emotion, and blessedly free of cliche and melodrama. Ideal for the socially minded theatre-goer. A feast for the heart and mind.

– Pop Dust

This is [Zimmerman’s] second work of real quality and power this year; the other was the devastating solo drama ‘On the Exhale.’ After these two productions, he joins the roster of talents to watch out for.

– Lighting and Sound America

Stunningly unflinching ‘Seven Spots On The Sun’ mesmerizes from start to finish.

– Broadway World Los Angeles

Scary, beautifully written, staged and acted. . . Honestly, you won’t see this kind of strong, visceral theatre anywhere else.

– Edge Media Network

It’s not easy to say one likes a play like this, but I can certainly say that I was moved and reminded that while men and women have the power to love and care for one another, that power cuts just as easily in other more painful ways. Martín Zimmerman is a promising young writer, one whose works — including this one — will surely be seen on more and more stages across America. We should be grateful that the Playhouse has given us an early taste of his work.

– City Beat

‘Seven Spots’ proves riveting and wrenching as it explores the motives and consequences of the terrifying conflicts that have afflicted, in this case, an unnamed Latin American country. . . Come ready to read between the lines and follow the symbols, and enjoy an intellectual feast, even as you will squirm in your chair at how recognizable it all is.

– Pasadena Star News

Powerful stuff and damn good theater.

– Behind The Curtain Cincinnati

Fantastic. . . truly one of the best productions I have ever seen. . . beautifully written, directed, and acted. This is a short review because I have nothing negative to say. I could really go on and on about how great this production was but it won’t mean anything unless you go see it.

– Broadway World Cincinnati

A brutal civil war’s effects on the lives and psyches of the residents of a pair of neighboring Latin American villages gets examined—and grippingly so—in Martín Zimmerman’s gut-wrenchingly powerful Seven Spots On The Sun, now being given the kind of West Coast Premiere at Pasadena’s The Theatre @ Boston Court that most young playwrights can only dream of.

– Stage Scene LA

In ninety-five riveting minutes, the play builds in power, leading to a spectacularly emotional climax . . . ‘Seven Spots on the Sun’ is playwriting of the first order.

– Paul Myrvold’s Theatre Notes

The sort of play that gets under your skin. You leave the theater and you want to keep talking about it. Zimmerman’s script is extraordinarily poetic — a harrowing, memorable theatrical experience.

– Cincinnati Enquirer

Grabs hold of often avoided stuff and lays it in our laps. . . Mr. Zimmerman’s play goes to the moral soul of the issue he tackles: the terrible plight of our neighbors to the south is presented to us in a way we can easily grasp. The foreign is made familiar.

– Tony Dallas Theatre Reviews


Let Me Count The Ways

 In [‘Let Me Count The Ways’] there is the challenge to define art on terms that will shake the very branches of modern society. [Its] style resonates with bright candor, incisive wit, and a romanticism which feels both earthy and deeply provocative.

– Terrence McNally


White Tie Ball

As a portrait of the multiple compromises and losing battles waged by those who want to serve both their blood families and some amorphous notion of the larger community, ‘White Tie Ball’ offers an adroit dance along the precipice of troubling moral dilemmas.

– Chicago Tribune

While the story is framed by political struggles, the heart of the play is the relationship between the two brothers. This is when ‘White Tie Ball’ is at its best. With Beto often acting as Edward’s moral compass and Beto in debt to Edward for his release from prison, the brothers tread the fragile path of restoring a relationship while still attaining what they need from the other. Whether on a large, international scale, or a smaller, personal scale, this play leaves its audience pondering what is worth sacrificing and, when that sacrifice is made, how do we deal with the consequences?

– Broadway World

The play moves swiftly and with a smooth musicality. . . . Zimmerman raises some serious questions of morality that are not easily answered. We suspect that Zimmerman is a playwright we’ll hear more from.

– Arizona Daily Star

Zimmerman is a playwright sensitive to all the different types of friction created by the pressures of assimilation.

– tucsonstage.com


The Making Of A Modern Folk Hero

Both the hero and this play achieve major success. . . . The Making of a Modern Folk Hero is a highlight of the Source Festival. Let’s hope it has a life afterwards.

– DC Theatre Scene

Excellent entertainment. . . . A well-written script – Martín Zimmerman knows when to tell a joke and when to let the audience decide if something is funny. Everything said on the stage needed to be said. . . . A highly enjoyable play, one that will hopefully be staged again.

– Washington City Paper

Folk Hero has done more than make its mark; it’s changed the entire game. . . . A comedy that’s not afraid to ask the tough questions, or the absurd ones. . . . Heart-stopping.

– MD Theatre Guide


Foreign Tongue

A stunning representation of sensual love between two people who obviously love each other in a thousand different ways. . . It will knock you off your seat.

– DC Theatre Scene