The Oregon Trail by Bekah Brunstetter (Fault Line Theatre at WP Theatre)
"In Ms. Vaynberg’s expressive hands, contemporary Jane’s sly humor and cringing embarrassment feel wonderfully real and raw, horrible and funny, as in her woeful description of the onset of menarche: 'It’s like when your body starts to tell you the truth about your life.' Her encounter with Billy (Juan Arturo), a sweaty devil-may-care soccer player, is a wincing delight."
-New York Times
"[Brunstetter's] strength is in the quippy dialogue and the focus on the winsome Now Jane, which Vaynberg painfully and accurately captures, particularly the teenage awkwardness of being uncomfortable in your own body. Even as she grows into an adult, her constant shuffling and slouching bears this mark. In one moment when things finally seem to be going her away, she casts off the gray and beams. It’s subtle work and Vaynberg navigates it well."
"As 'Now Jane,' Vaynberg skillfully captures that ineffable melancholy that comes with such an illness."
"[Vaynberg] rose to the challenge of portraying the needier younger sister beautifully, portraying the struggle that comes with simultaneous love, frustration, a need for guidance, and a desire to please corrupted by an inability to follow through. [...] Vaynberg’s performance captures the meaningful connections throughout Jane’s life beautifully, making The Oregon Trail a must-see play for anyone who’s struggled with finding their purpose, or just really misses their floppy disk of computer games."
Round Table (59E59)
On LARPING & Theater: Feature in TDF
"Bittersweet romance is interwoven with a retelling of the King Arthur legend, which begins to bleed into their courtship. 'LARPing is this play's metonym for storytelling,' says Vaynberg. 'We tell stories precisely because we want to negotiate our relationship with fate.'"
Named Times Square Chronicles' Best of 2019:
"Liba Vaynberg’s Round Table, at Fault Line Theatre at 59E59 Theaters, was a look at how we deal with illness and the avoidance of what in this case will be a devastating outcome. What seemed like a chick flick version of this subject, has stayed with me and I realize it was deeper than I thought."
“The playwright Liba Vaynberg can fairly be described as a mistress of the unexpected. […] Round Table artfully plays its reality-versus-fantasy games, ricocheting between Zach and Laura's blossoming romance and amusingly bombastic Arthurian melodrama, while working up real suspense as one waits for the truth about Zach to come out. It's hard to overestimate the high-wire act that Vaynberg has assigned herself--combining witty, stylish romantic sparring with literary satire and a tragic development that, in the wrong hands, could have become a shameless bid for tears. But Vaynberg and her director, Geordie Broadwater, handle the material with a naturally light touch, overstating nothing and allowing these wayward lovers to win us over. […] heartful and rueful, written and performed with surprising tact and restraint. […] expertly stylized performances and cunningly structured script. A gratifyingly touching light entertainment, Round Table should serve as a gilt-edged calling card for some very talented young artists.”
-David Barbour, Lighting & Sound America
“Clever and captivating. Round Table, written by Liba Vaynberg and directed by Geordie Broadwater is a one of a kind show. This modern romantic comedy [...] Starring a talented five person cast, the show cleverly melds elements from King Arthur legends with a story about people and their relationships. Vaynberg's tale is humorous, touching, and very honest [...] a unique and distinctive play that our readers will enjoy seeing.”
-Marina Kennedy, BroadwayWorld
"The legend of King Arthur has inspired a number of adaptations in every medium. And why wouldn’t it? It’s a tale of bravery, magic, loyalty, romance, and heartbreak. In Round Table, performing at the 59E59 Theaters, the legend is cleverly used in this new contemporary play written by Liba Vaynberg. [...] the great story, smooth and intimate production, Round Table is a clever, thoughtful, and heart-wrenching play to watch."
"In her own unique take on this tradition, Liba Vaynberg has found a clever way to invoke all things Arthurian in her delightfully funny play Round Table. In addition to writing Round Table, Vaynberg appears in the play. Rather than write herself some grandstanding diva star turn, she has the confidence to play Laura, giving an understated, sensitive performance as a slightly nerdy woman in a relationship with a slightly nerdier guy. As the interlocutor between the audience and stage Vaynberg is thoughtful and translucent. She also has great comic timing. [...] Round Table is terrific. Liba Vaynberg boasts an impressive gift with language, structure and character. Brandishing whimsy and emotional gravitas with equal vigor, she deftly manages the confluence of fluid worlds to draft a narrative that coheres with near seamless effect."
-Front Row Center
“It doesn't really matter which King Arthur you know, as you don't need to be well-versed in his mythology to follow this play. It's not so much about the folklore but the way people relate to it and why. […] Vaynberg's dialogue is funny and engaging, and she is a writer I want to hear more from. She is also a likable presence onstage and her character's yearning for romance is relatable. […] well worth checking out.”
"The characters are drawn with compelling and realistic depth; and each gets at least a short monologue, some of which feature beautifully evocative writing—Laura's final monologue and her description of the process by which she imagines coming to write her own, new myth are stand-outs; and Lena's description of the role of schlocky novels in her struggles for sleep will ring painfully and recognizably true for some. The performances, as mentioned, are fantastic by all concerned, no matter on which of the three planes of diegetic reality they occur [...] Round Table is by turns hilarious, poetic, psychologically acute, and poignant without being sentimental. Should you be searching for superb theater, then your quest ends here."
-Thinking Theater NYC
"We really can’t know for sure who other people truly are. Indeed, we really can’t even know who we ourselves truly are. Or at least that’s the main message I took away from Round Table by Liba Vaynberg, the intricately structured thought-provoking play currently premiering at 59E59 Theaters on East 59th Street in midtown Manhattan. [...] The cast of five is absolutely terrific in both their real life 21st Century parts and in their legendary Arthurian roles. But my greatest praise is reserved for Liba Vaynberg who not only wrote the play but starred in it brilliantly as Laura, the Druid Laurel, and Queen Guinevere. By writing the play and then starring in it herself she provided the perfect meta-example of what LARP, self-identification, and the fine line between fantasy and reality are all about."
-A Seat On The Aisle
“Vaynberg is a promising playwright [...] what with all the King Arthur scenes, scenes that might even be intended as comments on the mundanity of daily 2019 life in contrast to the truly adventurous lives we imagine were lived every day when knighthood was in flower. […] Vaynberg’s depiction of Zach and Laura as two well-educated writers trying to find their way with each other, even as one of them is keeping a serious secret, is touching. She even reveals a poetic streak in the occasional monologues she gives the characters. If Vaynberg is actually playing a variation on herself, she’s certainly good at it, especially in a LARP section where she’s attempting to keep up with characters already sufficiently skilled at live-action role-playing. There’s a good joke here, too, since acting itself is no more nor less than live-action role-playing."
-David Finkle, New York Stage Review
The Golem of Havana (Miami New Drama)
"The haunting truths in the opening words of Hausman's magnificent play, as uttered by the young narrator Rebecca Frankel (Liba Vaynberg). 'What can you take with you when you can't take anything with you? Only your stories. This one is mine.' Words that give me the chills every time I think of them. The miniskirted, sweet-voiced Rebecca sang the story of the Golem of Prague to a Yiddish melody [...] Special kudos to all, especially [...] Liba Vaynberg's compelling innocence."
"Daughter Rebecca Frankel (Liba Vaynberg) is an aspiring writer-artist who also serves as the show’s narrator [...] Among the most memorable musical moments are Yemayá, in which Rebecca and Teo kneel by a strip of ocean to ask the orisha goddess for help [...] her slender, smart Rebecca is a compelling narrator and character."
-Christine Dolen, Miami Herald
"Liba Vaynberg creates a Rebecca who is delightfully on the cusp of adulthood, but not quite there. She nails the sense of a misfit creative soul (a Jewish Jo March) whose naiveté is the persistence of pure humanity, compassion and imagination."
-Bill Hirschman, Florida Theater On Stage
"The characters are all extremely multi-dimensional and the actors imbue them with real personality and spirit. [...] But it would all fall apart without Liba Vaynberg. She isn’t simply adorkable, though she is that too. She plays the girl young, but wise and empathetic and compassionate. She holds on to her ideals even though the situation the family finds themselves in is impossibly complex. Ms. Vaynberg doesn’t stop being caring even when her circumstances are tortuous. And this is without melodrama. She doesn’t try to make us feel for her. We do it because we see her soul in pain and we empathize."
-Is It Any Good
"Then, a strikingly pretty young girl, narrator Rebecca Frankel (Liba Vaynberg) uttered the first sentence of Hausmann’s magnificent manuscript: “When you can’t take anything with you, you take along your stories,” a stunning, unforgettable, chilling eternal truth. Then she began singing the Golem’s story."
The Russian & The Jew, co-written with Emily Louise Perkins (The Tank)
On co-writing: Feature in the Brooklyn Rail.
"...the story of two women struggling for self-determination in the 1960s in Belarus, the Soviet Union, against the backdrop of a quasi-fascist Communism [...] a deeply human fable of a time and place very foreign to our contemporary New York lives. But amid lofty aspirations for equality under Communism, sexism and anti-Semitism bleed through the well-meaning veneer in ways that might feel oddly familiar, here and now."
On dramaturgy: Feature in The Jewish Week.
"With inventive storytelling, The Russian and The Jew succeeds in being an intimate, magical, festive tale impeccably secure in its own 1960s period while linking itself to the social and political present. [...] History forgotten means history not learned, and the repetition of events is inevitable without growth. How then to make history memorable so that current generations do not repeat the same mistakes? One answer is to make history felt, to drive it deeper than the brain, and place it indelibly in the heart. And the best way to do this is with a story. That’s where Emily Louise Perkins and Liba Vaynberg’s magical new play The Russian and The Jew lives, as a New Year’s story. [...] It is at once both foreign and strangely familiar. This is all played alongside the narrative of the Frog Princess, a Russian folk tale Alexei's wife Lena (Liba Vaynberg), an established doctor, tells her son. Through Lena’s eyes we witness the complexities that arise out of the roles we play in order to survive, as chosen family clashes with the tribes into which we are born. [...] Maximum trust is given to the ensemble, who expertly juggle multiple characters and dialects with ease."
-Theater Is Easy
"The brainchild of actor/writers Emily Louise Perkins and Liba Vaynberg, this play is filled with all the romance, plot twists, and personal conflict that make up any great contemporary drama. Rotating back and forth between the late 1960s and occasionally 1992 after the collapse of the USSR, this play may be a period piece, but the themes that it deals with – from misogyny to anti-Semitic bigotry – are ones that are still very much relevant today, and thus is bound to be a very compelling drama that audiences for their 20s to their 80s are bound to be drawn into and appreciate. With the help of a very talented ensemble of actors, these characters and their individual story lines are almost impossible to take your eyes off of."
-On Stage Blog
"US-Soviet enmity shadowed every child of my generation of Atomic-bomb frightened kids. But mostly my reaction is due to the skill with which the creative team & performers here tell a time-bending but highly focused tale of what a group of ethnic Russians & Russian Jews endured in the dying days of the Soviet Union. The intimacy of the space contributes to the sense of claustrophobia that curbs these lives. (You might find it a tad tight.) Weaving in & out of the play’s realistically acted, inventively staged main narrative is a live embodiment by the same actors of the bedtime fairy tale that a young Russian Jewish mother is telling her infant on & off throughout the piece. What an embarrassment of theater riches NYC offers! The exciting writing, staging & performing in this low-budget production is the kind of evidence that the city provides for that proposition nightly."
We All Fall Down (Huntington Theatre Company)
"Moreover, the performances are both delightfully comic and palpably human. [...] Liba Vaynberg makes of Sammi a strong but sensitive woman, too long buffeted by — but hardly immune to — the family drama."
"The chemistry [Reissa] shares with Vaynberg and Stern crackles with Jewish mother energy and they respond with appropriate annoyance or appreciation, depending on the situation. [...] Vaynberg and Stern create a genuine sibling relationship, their characters alternately helping or hurting each other, but they are believable, especially when they join forces to take on their parents."
On acting: Feature in Theatre Talk Boston
Contrition: A Long Voicemail (Streaming)
"A voicemail intercut with nonlinear scenes, telling the story of a relationship from beginning to end, the voicemail acting as a sort of epilogue that is slowly revealed as the play goes on. The monologue itself is both written and delivered beautifully. [...] The philosophical conversations had between the two characters were very beautiful and reminded me of the type of conversations we’ve all been having during this time. Questions of existence and faith. Do we exist in the way that we think we do? All told among the sounds of a lake not unlike the one I was seated beside. It made the whole thing much more personal. Real. Like you were witnessing the ghosts of a conversation long gone."
Ether Dome (La Jolla Playhouse, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Company)
"Distinguished performances [from] Liba Vaynberg [...] Quite good as 'Lizzie' Whitman, the Farmington heiress who becomes Morton’s wife, who maintains her devotion and support even after she obtains some detrimental information about her husband’s past baggage."
"Among the capable actors: Liba Vaynberg a likely partner as [William Morton's] cheerily amoral wife."
-WBUR (National Public Radio)
"Morton's wife Lizzie is a different sort of woman, ostensibly a bit ditzy and one accustomed to being taken care of, but Liba Vaynberg lets us see her internal mettle when the chips are down."
-Broadway World (Boston)
"Impressed by Liba Vaynberg as Morton's wife."
WE ARE PUSSY RIOT (Contemporary American Theatre Festival)
"The Agit-Prop style allows her to bring in the real life testimonies of Rioters Nadya, Masha, and Katya, played with wonderful punk variety by Libby Matthews, Liba Vaynberg, and Katya Stepanov."
-DC Metro Theater Arts
"Libby Matthews as Nadya, Liba Vaynberg as Masha and Katya Stepanov as Katya, the three members of Pussy Riot on trial for the protest, each did a spectacular job in performances ripe with passion and purpose."
"Let me, in parting, tip the hat to Libby Matthews, Liba Vaynberg, and Katya Stepanov, pictured left to right above, for their fine portrayals of the heroines Nadya, Masha, and Katya, respectively. They astutely captured and shared the good cheer, determination, and sheer guts of the women they portrayed."
The Golem of Havana (La MaMa, ETC)
"The multitalented Vaynberg does a notably good job carrying the story — a success that is particularly impressive because she is playing a child character."
"Liba Vaynberg in the leading role was powerful, and if the world is just, she won’t need a day job for long."
The Lighthouse Invites The Storm (The Chain)
"Vaynberg perfectly captures the indecisive nature of Irene, who struggles with who she is and who she wants to be."
"Vaynberg, meanwhile, makes her character’s cynicism and constant snarkiness seem like a mask hiding her true vulnerability, rather than turning her into a cartoon [...] gives an emotional charged and nuanced performance."
As You Like It (Baruch Performing Arts Center)
"Helen Cespedes’ Rosalind and Liba Vaynberg’s Celia were fabulous."