Already closed | 1h 50m | Midtown W

Sea Wall / A Life (Broadway)

From 207 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Intense

About the show

After a sold-out run at The Public Theater, this intimate evening of solo work starring Jake Gyllenhaal ("Sunday in the Park with George") and Tony Award nominee Tom Sturridge ("1984") comes to Broadway.  More…

Sturridge, in his third collaboration with Tony and Olivier Award winner Simon Stephens ("Heisenberg," "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time"), performs "Sea Wall," a monologue about love and the human need to know the unknowable.

Gyllenhaal continues his artistic collaboration with Olivier Award-nominated playwright Nick Payne ("Constellations," "If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet") in "A Life," a meditation on how we say goodbye to those we love most. 

1h 50m | Already closed | Hudson Theatre (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (207)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Intense
83
Avg Score

75
Indulgent, Intelligent, Great acting, Interesting

See it if Take of two monologues. Jake’s was great. Tom’s was lacking. Can’t say much beyond. Very minimal otherwise.

Don't see it if You don’t like monologue shows about serious subjects.

82
Resonant, Masterful, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if If you like a monologue play that is deep. Two stories about life and loss . A play that deals with deep subject matter.

Don't see it if If you want something that is lite and easy. Or a comedy.

75
Slight, Wistful, Great acting, Overrated, Mercenary

See it if u want an opportunity to see these two fine actors deliver emotional (if somewhat shallow) monologues about life, death, reflection & grief.

Don't see it if u seek an invigorating, hopeful evening; u want high production values vs modest staging; u'd rather wait to see these 2 in full productions

Also This "production", featuring two men individually reciting monologues ... Read more Read less

74
Heavy, Melodramatic, Disappointing, Slow, Great acting

See it if You love storytelling monologue plays and are okay with heavy subject matter.

Don't see it if You’re just going to see Gyllenhaal. He’s great, but the plays aren’t memorable and are very difficult to sit through.

86
Great writing, Thought-provoking, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Wonderful acting. Much more somber than I expected, But the actors were great and it was a treat to see them.

Don't see it if This is two monologues so if you want a big broadway musical this will not be for you.

Also I was lucky enough to be there on a day with a talk back. Laura Heywoo... Read more Read less

78
Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Indulgent, Thought-provoking

See it if the big questions of birth and death approached as narratives interest you. In both monologues actors tell a story from the character's POV

Don't see it if If you want action on stage these are memories with a suggestion of action created by intercutting the stories.

92
Intense, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you would enjoy two spectacular monologues, by superb actors, taking you away into these moving stories of the pain we experience in life.

Don't see it if you want a snazzy Broadway show - this has minimal staging, requires you to listen intently and form your own vision of the other characters

73
Overrated, Disappointing, Indulgent, Great acting

See it if Two actors peel away the vulnerability and deliver two monologues conjoined thematically about connecting: Life and death/birth and grief.

Don't see it if Acting is in your surnames.We know you can act, there are celluloid receipts.We deserve better than cuttings & crumbs.Sole reason 4 transfer

50
Nothing to it, Overrated

See it if You are like most people and just want to see a big Hollywood actor on a stage

Don't see it if You are expecting anything more than 2 one act monologues

Also Sea wall 55... Read more Read less

90
Thought-provoking, Intense, Great writing, Great acting, Moving

See it if 2 separate monologues connected by themes of life, death, love & loss told with compassion, depth & sometimes humor, beautifully acted.

Don't see it if you're not partial to monologues or minimal (though effective staging) & if the subject matter strikes too close to home.

Also At the talk-back after the performance, both Sturridge & Gyllenhaal & ... Read more Read less

87
Great writing, Great acting, Resonant, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if you are a human in this world. The themes are universal; the execution is tremendous.

Don't see it if you have no connection of any kind to any other person on Earth.

Also Tom Sturridge and Jake Gyllenhaal are extraordinary, moving, and unfli... Read more Read less

100
Riveting, Masterful, Intelligent, Great acting, Emotional

See it if you'd enjoy 2 stories of men dealing with life and death. They both show a vulnerability that is heartbreaking to experience.

Don't see it if You need a large cast and lots of action to enjoy the show. These are two men who are deeply affected by events in their lives.

100
Must see, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Great writing, Riveting

See it if you want to see two great actors perform two brilliantly crafted and layered monologues. I was completely absorbed the entire time

Don't see it if you need something with a lot of action or can't focus on just one actor delivering a monologue

Also I enjoyed this show so much that after seeing it on a Friday night, I ... Read more Read less

85
Slow, Resonant, Profound, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Two monologues that ponder death and life and parenthood and childhood intrigue; you want to see two brilliant actors command the theatre

Don't see it if you're not ready for an emotional journey; you want a fully fleshed out play rather than two monologues

Also I saw this at the Public and liked it but wasn't blown away. Somehow, ... Read more Read less

97
Resonant, Great acting, Great writing, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy superb acting displaying vulnerability & heart-wrenching performances & embracing the audience

Don't see it if You prefer razzle-dazzle to serious theater.

89
Intense, Masterful, Absorbing, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you want to see two outstanding performances that deal with the hardest parts of life. You cannot help but feel emotionally invested in it.

Don't see it if you do not want to hear 2 monologues for 2 hours. It is just story telling.

82
Slow, Overrated, Intense, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if you want to see two very capable actors command the stage alone for 45 minutes each. There are moving moments and the show kept my attention

Don't see it if you dislike one-person shows or if you are expecting brilliant writing. To be honest, the monologues have mixed together in my mind already.

88
Profound, Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing

See it if beautifully written, incredibly crafted, and exquisitely acted--two monologues performed back to back but interwoven with themes/metaphors

Don't see it if two poignant stories about being human life, the meaning of life, and value of life, both are sad, as well as beautiful, stories well told.

Also The first monologue Seawall by Sturridge has a head crashingly sad sto... Read more Read less

80
Uneven, Great acting

See it if You want to see some world-class acting from Jake Gyllenhaal.

Don't see it if You don't want monologues that are uneven.

70
Resonant, Romantic, Thought-provoking, Slow, Intelligent

See it if you are interested in personal stories of loss and life. Well performed but tedious. Interesting juxtaposition of stories and characters.

Don't see it if you want action and not just words. Or if you are not enthralled with one man shows that are essentially monologues about their lives/loss

89
Absorbing, Relevant, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if You want to see two extremely talented actors show their stuff - both Sturridge & Gyllenhaal are superb.

Don't see it if You would find themes of loss & mourning too difficult or if you detest solo actors playing directly to & interacting with the audience.

Also There is no 4th wall & no staging per se. Purportedly the intent is to... Read more Read less

90
Thought-provoking, Intense, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want to give yourself over to two thoughtful, moving pieces that demand attention.

Don't see it if You want to see something with big production value. This is pretty bare bones.

Also Sea Wall is a much more mournful piece, and Sturridge is quietly devas... Read more Read less

82
Resonant, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy monologues delivered by two great actors

Don't see it if you don't enjoy monologues or topics of loss

80
Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Two monologues dealing with love & loss. Jake and Tom are outstanding. Jake's monologue is the better of the two, which moved me to tears.

Don't see it if This isn't something you're likely to see on Broadway. You must pay attention and listen.

85
Great writing, Great acting, Resonant, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if Superior aciting, poignant stories, 2 pros on stage equally mesmerizing. A richer more nuanced experience then preview 1st seen at Public.

Don't see it if Don't like serious monologues, prefer flashy staging, musicals or big Bdwy productions. Have a hard time following complex story lines.

Also A must see for very intelligent performances presenting a beautiful ba... Read more Read less


August 8th, 2019
CRITIC’S PICK "Quiet Tragicomedies of Love and Loss: In a tender pair of monologues, Tom Sturridge and Jake Gyllenhaal portray young fathers shaken out of complacency."
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August 8th, 2019
★★★ "Pairing two shows back-to-back sometimes brings out the best in both; sometimes, it only makes the virtues of one of them shine brighter. The latter is the case in 'Sea Wall/A Life'...Both deal with grief…But in every regard, the first of the two puts the second in the shade."
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August 8th, 2019
B+ "Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge will make you cry in 'Sea Wall/A Life'"
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August 8th, 2019
"The writing in these separate monologues is excellent, as are the solo performances, but this is no show to see on a first date."
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