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A Soviet prison, 1952. Stalin's secret police have rounded up twenty-six writers, the giants of Yiddish literature in Russia. As judgment looms, a twenty-seventh suddenly appears: Pinchas Pelovits, unpublished and unknown. Baffled by his arrest, he and his cellmates wrestle with the mysteries of party loyalty and politics, culture and identity, and with what it means to write in troubled times. When they discover why the twenty-seventh man is among them, the writers come to realize that even in the face of tyranny stories still have the power to transcend.
[Director Barry] Edelstein is blessed with a uniformly excellent cast.Review by Jocelyn Noveck from Associated Press
Set largely in a prison cell, where time drips slowly by as a handful of writers await their fate, the play, which opened on Sunday night at the Public Theater, certainly captures the clammy sense of entrapment that finds the men slowly pecking away at each other’s foibles to pass the long hours.Review by Charles Isherwood from The New York Times