Ends Sep 29 | 1h 50m | Midtown W

Sea Wall / A Life (Broadway)

From 71 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Intense, Thought-provoking

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 | Ends Sep 29 | Hudson Theatre (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (71)

MEMBERS SAY:

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

90
Great writing, Must see, Riveting, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if You want to experience a great piece of work told by two brilliant actors.

Don't see it if You don’t want to use your mind to bring these stories to life.

Also I was blown away by this play and the stories they told. Performed bri... Read more Read less

84
Mournful, Emotionally-draining, Moving, Powerful, Intimate

See it if you like gut wrenching and highly personal performances that stir up lots of emotions. Powerful performances and storytelling. Superb acting

Don't see it if may be too hard for those who are still grieving from a loss. The themes are heavy. The show consists of long monologues by 2 actors.

80
Intense, Edgy, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You are patient with slow build up of intense plays that carry a message that sometimes make more sense after leaving the theater. Found

Don't see it if You are not a fan of very intense dramas and are impatient with subject matter that requires deep thought and analysis. Very edgy

Also the second play more powerful and admit to a teary eye with the portra... Read more Read less

74
Spare, Lightly pretentious, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Great acting

See it if You love Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge. Both actors live up to their reputations, and are given roles designed to show off their talent.

Don't see it if You don’t like one man shows; this is basically two linked together. You want a particularly innovative or profound story.

Also As one would expect, Gyllenhaal and Sturridge give exceptional perform... Read more Read less

74
Disappointing, Slow, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You’re a fan of monologues, enjoy heavy themes, like life and death. You want to see two indisputably great actors onstage.

Don't see it if You want a traditional Broadway experience, with a set. Unmemorable plot. Feels like short story readings done by fine actors.

Also The two monologues are affecting because of the themes and the tremend... Read more Read less

83
Enchanting, Relevant, Great writing, Great acting

See it if You want to see an intimate and heartbreaking show. The acting is phenomenal.

Don't see it if You don’t like solo tragedy

80
Quirky, Ambitious, Absorbing, Intense, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy one person monologues that are well crafted and well acted.

Don't see it if you are not interested in men discussing their emotional responses to tragedies in their lives.

95
Great writing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you don't mind one-person serious shows

Don't see it if you prefer lighter fare

Also Even though you have two actors you have 2 one-person shows as they ne... Read more Read less

79
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Slow, Great writing, Great acting

See it if want to see two excellent actors (Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge) in person performing two separate monologues to the audience.

Don't see it if you're expecting a more traditional play experience. The actors don't interact and it consists of 45 minute monologues in each act.

90
Great writing, Intelligent, Intense, Great acting, Masterful

See it if You're okay with monologues and don't need a flashy production, but a well-written display in 2 acts by two great actors. Jake was amazing!

Don't see it if you need a large production / interaction on stage. This is a 2 act play with monologues only.

91
Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want to hear things from a male perspective. Nice to see two male actors be vulnerable and powerful enough to command the stage alone

Don't see it if You don’t like monologues

97
Profound, Great acting, Intense, Exquisite

See it if Two men share emotional stories abt their wives,children,parents creating strong connection with the audience. Grt acting,writing,directing

Don't see it if you don't like Tom Sturbridge, JACK GULLYENHALL nor if you don't like moving stories /monologues.

Also Jack and Tom were amazing during and after the show at an interesting ... Read more Read less

79
Resonant, Great acting, Cliched

See it if you want monologues on life

Don't see it if you want something light and comedic

75
Great acting, Great writing, Indulgent

See it if You like to see someone ACTING and enjoy monologues about depressing topics ... or want to see Jake Gyllenhaal live.

Don't see it if You want to be entertained with storytelling that feels more like a play.

Also I knew what I was in for but still: the first act -- a.k.a. "Sea Wall"... Read more Read less

88
Great acting, Absorbing, Masterful

See it if you appreciate great acting. The performances were spellbinding. Both actors captured your attention telling their powerful, moving stories.

Don't see it if you don't want to feel uncomfortable or sad at the theater. Definitely dealing with heavy topics.

89
Profound, Resonant, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like two good actors doing monologues about love and death. sturridge and gyllenhaal give wonderful and intense performances

Don't see it if you are expecting a musical or huge broadway production. stay away if you don’t like monologues


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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Cast & Creatives (5)