Spain (2023) – Play Review and Summary (with Spoilers)

General Information

This section includes information about the production, cast, staff, venue, and crew.


Tyne Rafaeli


Jen Silverman



Attendance Type

In Person

Event Status

On Schedule

Venue or Network (2nd Stage)

305 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

Performance Date

November 10, 2023

First Performance At This Venue

November 8, 2023

Opening Night Performance

November 8, 2023

Last Performance At This Venue

December 17, 2023

Venue URL

Tickets Starting At







Historical (1936)


90 minutes

Noted Performers

Joris Ivens

Andrew Burnap


Marin Ireland


Zachary James

John Dos Passos

Erik lochtefeld

Ernest Hemingway

Danny Wolohan


Scene/ Set Design

Dane Laffrey

Costume Design

Alejo Vietti

Lighting Design

Jen Schriever

Sound Design

Daniel Kluger


N. A



It’s 1936, and Joris and Helen make movies for the KGB. Mostly shorts that are quick and easy to digest. However, Joris’ handler, Karl, wants something longer, two hours, and wants Ernest Hemingway involved due to his relationship with the Roosevelts. There are Russian interests in Spain, and a movie could push things where they want them to go.

Now, Ernest won’t come easy, so friend and rival John is used, but he asks too many questions in time. But he isn’t the only one. Though Helen is good at her job, producing what her handler Igor, Karl, and Joris want, this isn’t her dream. She was once a filmmaker, albeit of experimental things. But now she just makes propaganda. It isn’t clear if that’s enough anymore, and while Joris can romanticize the takeover of his art, Helen’s ability to do the same ebbs and flows to the point contemplating starting over is tempting.  

Content Information

  • Dialog: occasional cursing
  • Violence: nothing notable
  • Sexual Content: nothing
  • Miscellaneous: drinking and smoking

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Andrew Burnap as Joris

Joris is a filmmaker, nothing of note, but thanks to the KGB, he has released multiple shorts and now has the opportunity to release his first feature.

Marin Ireland as Helen

Originally from Moscow, where she was a filmmaker, she became Joris’ partner after getting involved with the KGB, and sometimes he is unsure if they are together for real or just for their cover.

Zachary James as Karl

Karl is Joris’ handler, though Joris prefers “dinner companion,” who works for the KGB.

Erik Iochtefeld as John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos is a writer and rival to Ernest Hemingway.

Danny Wolohan as Ernest Hemingway

A famous writer, as much as he is a famous drunk, Ernest loves to show boat and be the man everyone pays attention to in the room.


Our Rating: Mixed (If Affordable)

Notable Performances or Moments

Stage Design

While there is no bad seat in the house, you may not want to sit in row A because the whole stage is used from a corner in the far right to an entrance/exit in the far left. But that aside, people popping up and using nearly every last inch of the stage keeps you engaged.

You never know where someone may pop up, disappear, where a Russian may make their presence known. It keeps you on your toes and makes it so you have to actively pay attention and move your head, maybe even body, and in that movement, you remain engaged even when some, like Ernest Hemingway, talk too much.


The Question of Identity

With the KGB using them to influence the lives of others, so comes the question of who anyone is. Are they operating on their beliefs or convictions, have they lost themselves to their cover stories, or do some of them still eek out in their work? Is there any option of freedom, and is that freedom simply a long leash?

There is an effort to push what is autonomy and self-discovery in a world that feeds you on who or what to be, if not think. This is mainly done from the perspective of 1936, but a point is made with the internet and social media; all that had changed in almost 90 years was the means of most easily influencing the public. You go from movies and using famous names to the internet, faceless bots with just the right message to draw and empower a fringe audience.

On The Fence

Jump To Modern Times

While it is understood the push to understand how Russia used media to influence governments and wield power, it is discombobulating to see people who are from the 30s suddenly enter an office where social media and the internet is talked about. All things considered, all parties in the room should be dead. So how and why the conversation is happening is a tad confusing beyond giving you an idea of how propaganda evolved.

A Lot Of Talking To Fill Up Time

At ninety minutes, one could submit the majority of the time is spent on theory and metaphors. Whether it is the competing pitches for “Spain,” the movie that Joris is to direct and Helen to produce, or the musings of Hemingway or John, there is a lot of word vomit.

Now, to be fair, I’m not a fan of either, so that should be considered as a factor. But, there really does come so many points where it feels like they are milking the name Ernest Hemingway and the persona he is known for past its usefulness. Even when they take away the bravado and point out, he is just an insecure man who likes a consistent stream of attention.

Who Is This For?

Those who love spy stories where there is an equal part levity and jokes, as well as seriousness due to dealing with people who can kill indiscriminately.


If you like this, we recommend:

  1. Central Intelligence
  2. Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre
  3. The Spy Who Dumped Me

Check out our Live Performance page for our latest reviews and recommendations.

Spain (2023) – Play Overview


I wouldn’t say if you are visiting New York or the Tri-State area “Spain” has to be on your list. But if you live in the area, love productions about spies, and can afford the play, check it out.

  • Stage Design - 85%
  • The Question of Identity - 83%
  • Jump To Modern Times - 74%
  • A Lot Of Talking To Fill Up Time - 73%


  • The Question of Identity
  • Stage Design


  • A Lot Of Talking To Fill Up Time
  • Jump To Modern Times

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