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This is Our Youth

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,598 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Dennis—with a famous painter father and social activist mother—is a small-time drug dealer and total mess. His hero-worshipping friend Warren has just impulsively stolen $15,000 from his father, an abusive lingerie tycoon. When Jessica, a mixed-up prep school girl, shows up for a date, Warren pulls out a wad of bills and takes her off, awkwardly, for a night of seduction. ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published February 2nd 2000 by Harry N. Abrams (first published January 1st 1999)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,598 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama
I know Kenneth Lonergan through some great films such as Manchester by the Sea but never read or saw a production of this play, which was said to define (yet another) lost generation of young people. I was even living in Manhattan in 1996 when it premiered to great acclaim, but the focus of the play--three rich white teens living on the upper west side, eh--I thought I had better and more useful things to do with my time. But now I listened to a great 2014 LA Theater Works production of the play ...more
Kristopher Jansma
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookblog
Once upon a time, I was the president of my college theater group and I can't say how many times this play came up as an option to be produced. I never read the play - I heard the plot synopsis and I was sold on the spot - slacker youths, drugs and sex, lots of cursing, and that it had somehow stood out as the quintessential play in the genre. For all those same reasons, my fellow board members routinely voted it down... not that we always did such clean, happy shows, but I'm just saying that my ...more
Aug 08, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, theatre
Teenage stoners talking about life, love and drugs.
Emma Getz
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-plays, drama
I really love this play as a character and dialogue study. Also I love reading about rich morally ambiguous young adults throwing their lives away for fun. Like a 1980s Jewish Gossip Girl that was actually really sad and pretty moving and very emotionally poignant.
Jan 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's a wonderful character study that shows how intelligent, unique, young adults who are slackers can be both insightful and pathetic.
I learned that the line between success and failure is a fine one in all areas of our lives. We can easily become stuck in cycles, delve deeper into our eccentricities and just as easily find hope, acceptance, and love.
Emma Kay Krebs
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
2.5 stars.
Tom O'Brien
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
Some of the dialogue is overwrought and contradictory, the characters don't always act consistently or even in their own best interests. Their views are far from fully formed but expressed vehemently. A fairly accurate and funny emotional snapshot of being young then? Yes. ...more
Andy Herrera
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I watched a Zoom performance of this a month ago and really loved it. It’s interesting to read it as a play as someone who doesn’t really read plays. This is very much My Shit so I’m biased but I loved the texture and style put into these young characters’ existential crises and how it’s astutely juxtaposed against the Reaganite nightmare of their day to day lives (this play has uh aged extremely well in that respect). They’re simultaneously pathetic and relatable, which is such a tricky tightro ...more
Leo Robertson
Aug 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Eek, there was definitely a horrible thing going on in the 80s with New York middle class twentysomethings, as has been so successfully documented in fiction:

They were all a buncha dicks!

Who cares?

May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
kenneth lonergan gives us a play that feels like bogosian considering the distresses of white urban rich kids, overflowing with the anger and issues that haunt people who have graduated high school and have nowhere else to go, but because theyre rich find the going noncompulsory. it's about three teens, two guys and a girl, and it's about friendship and power dynamics and how we process feelings when we're used to being degraded and diminished. there's lots of drugs and lots of cursing and maybe ...more
Jul 10, 2019 added it
Shelves: books-i-love
This is one of those plays that upsets me because it is exactly the kind of thing I want to write but done with a skill and power that feels unattainable.
Gil T.
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“This Is Our Youth” By Kenneth Lonergan

“This Is Our Youth”
By Kenneth Lonergan
Narrated by: Mark Ruffalo, Missy Yager, Josh Hamilton
Length: 1 hr and 41 mins
Published September 25th 2009 by LA Theatre Works

This almost could have been me. I was a teen in the Reagan 80s, and well smoking pot was the thing to do. I didn't live in a big city, my dad wasn't rich and well, I guess maybe this couldn't have been me. I never got the chance to steal $15k from my dad when he kicked me out, Instead I joined th
Adrian Collins
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Knowing people in real life who are almost exact replicas of these characters made this play ever so real and close. This is a stunningly accurate portrayal of American youth in a timeless way. The themes of desperate altruism in a time of economic oppression ring just as true in the Reagan era as in the Trump era. This play puts a lot of focus on language (something I love and prefer anytime I read a play) and allows us to look at each character not for just how they present themselves to their ...more
Anna Fernands
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I’ve read in some time. It was frank and real. It portrayed the life of lost stoner kids trying to learn how to function and hold healthy relationships - often failing. The relationships were brutally real and accurately displayed social anxiety, abuse, and people’s relationship with drugs. The ending of this book was beautiful and it reminded me deeply of some of my own experiences.
Oct 20, 2020 added it
okay i watched an online production of the play so i'm counting it (esp because i had the play open in another tab and kept referring to it because i'm just like that). great production with cool cast! i had a laugh and it had moments that had me sit with myself for a bit, but not too many of them. i liked it! felt seen a couple times so that's always exciting. yeah, read it if you like but it's probably a lot more fun to see it. ...more
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
The first Lonergan play I've read and it has only gone further to confirm my suspicion that he is a genius after he's released three masterpieces in a row with You Can Count On Me, Margaret, and Manchester-by-the-Sea. His ability to capture the essence of a teenager surpasses that of almost any other artist I can think of. ...more
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: assigned-reading
Had to read this for my English class. It was mildly entertaining, but the characters were (likely intentionally) overblown. None of them could really be identified with. I get that this is supposed to be an exaggerated exploration of bored, dazed and confused youth, but... I dunno. It was just okay.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: genre-play
I really enjoyed the zoom performance of the play on the Acting For A Cause Youtube channel. I remembered reading the play years ago but not really connecting to any characters. I am glad I got to watch it online and I hope one day I will see it performed on stage.

Actors: Alex Wolff as Warren, Justice Smith as Dennis, Florence Pugh as Jessica and Brando Crowford as the stage director.
Gadi Zaig
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Really started getting into plays. I read this play to get a better context of a monologue I’ve been wanting to do from it. I can really connect to both Dennis and Warren in Kenneth Lonergan’s work. It freshly describes the human condition of men in their late teens/early 20s. It’s definitely one of my more favorite contemporary plays.
Rosaleen Lynch
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This is Our Youth captures the angst young people are left with by their elders (exacerbated by their peers). A reminder of 'our youth' whether it was in the 80s in New York, USA or the 80's in Cork, Ireland. We knew nothing and everything. And we will never again know as much or as little. ...more
Cary S
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
I enjoyed this. Very "slice of [bleak] life," with some excellent character work. The last 20 or so pages really elevated it. I wish the first act had had a bit more momentum. ...more
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pushes through its insularity to find a heartbeat, by the end.
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays, fall-2018
Really fascinated by Lonergan's use of "like" for Warren. There's not a comma unless it's important. ...more
Taylor Hudson
Oct 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
Lonergan writes killer dialogue - so simple it reads like a slice of life - I definitely feel like I know these kids he's writing about. Rich white kids get in over there head with drugs and love. ...more
Emily Fortuna
Jan 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
I just wasted some of my youth reading this

The characters barely change over the course of the play.
Tori ReadsALot
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this play, Dennis and Warren are hilarious.
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020, plays
I can't decide how I feel about this play. It's very slice of life and I like the concept of this play. I think I would need another read-through of it before I decide to direct it ...more
Oct 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Captures the zeitgeist but doesn’t satisfy
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
you would probably have a crush on jessica
Nicholas Montemarano
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
LOVED THIS PLAY. So much that as soon as I finished it, I started again from the beginning and simply highlighted every moment—and there are many—of its everyday poetry.
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