22 critics reviewed the show, resulting in a weighted average of 69.
"It's like spending 90 minutes with a self-involved friend as he digs through his storage unit...This is certainly a worthwhile story, but Sobelle consistently chooses the most uninteresting ways to tell it. His interactions with the audience feel more labored than charming...Execution often feels like an afterthought in Neumann's production...The only feeling 'The Object Lesson' is able to deliver is confusion chased by a sincere hope that it will end quickly."
Time Out New York
"The environment installed by Steven Dufala at New York Theatre Workshop for performer Geoff Sobelle and director David Neumann’s astonishing and revelatory 'The Object Lesson' is one epic mausoleum...If you didn’t catch this startlingly original show when it premiered at BAM three years ago, treat yourself to this limited run...It's best seen without advance information...What exactly is the lesson here? We live, we die, we leave garbage behind. But to make art from trash: That’s real magic."
New York Theater
"There are moments, jerry-rigged with makeshift lighting and some surprise stagecraft, that are both funny and, quite improbably, beautiful. It feels like the kind of show designed to give bragging rights to aficionados of way-out theater such as myself. But it also inspires a contemplation of the meaning of objects in our lives, how an evocative old box of memorabilia–even if not your own–can provoke a swift stream of memories."
“The Object Lesson” was also reviewed by Tim Teeman of Daily Beast, Simon Saltzman of CurtainUp, Deb Miller of DC Metro Theater Arts, Steven Ross of Front Mezz Junkies, Robert Kahn of WNBC, David Roberts of Theatre Reviews Limited, Joe Dziemianowicz of New York Daily News, Matthew Murray of Talkin' Broadway, and David Finkle of The Huffington Post.
The show was also reviewed by 20 Show-Score members, whose collective ShowScore is a weighted average of 72.
Top five adjectives describing the show:
Quirky, Clever, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Slow
See it if…"You are open to an interesting idea that is developed very slowly, and if you are tall enough to see over most people."
Don't see it if…"You like to see what is going on in a show."
See it if…"You enjoy moments of sheer brilliance combined with banality and incoherence. Fascinating staging for sure, but I left feeling kind of meh."
Don't see it if…"You need a comfortable seat. My back killed after an hour. Or if you don't like absurdist experimental theater."
See it if…"You enjoy experimental, experiential theater, or enjoy feeling a part of a show. The staging involved the audience as part of the plot and set."
Don't see it if…"You need a real seat. There are no real seats! Prepare to be a bit uncomfortable! But the discomfort is a part of the show and the experience."
See the Show Page with all critic and member reviews.
Note: The ShowScore displayed above is current as of right now, and may be different from the ShowScore when the article was published.