Ends Sep 29 | 1h 50m | Midtown W

Sea Wall / A Life (Broadway)

From 75 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 (75)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Intense, Thought-provoking
82
Avg Score

75
Excruciating, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You want 2 intense deep story’s

Don't see it if You want a good normal happy play

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

100
Intelligent, Resonant, Refreshing, Intense, Absorbing

See it if you like a raw no frills monologue. Great writing & moving stories told by two great actors/storytellers and clever breaking of the 4th wall

Don't see it if you want a light fast-paced show. this is slow in a perfectly intentional and intense way. highly recommend.

90
Profound, Refreshing, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a show about life, death, grief, and love. The two stories are so beautifully written that it can resonate with anyone.

Don't see it if you would rather see a more uplifting, lighthearted show. The monologues deal with very heavy conversations that may be difficult to hear.

Also Based off what I heard about this show I expected to cry my eyes out w... Read more Read less

52
Disappointing, Cliched, Banal, Great acting

See it if Actors almost overcoming underwhelming plays

Don't see it if Want interesting story with forward momentum

85
Great acting

See it if Both actors are excellent.

Don't see it if Don’t like monologues. Need action.

85
Great writing, Absorbing

See it if Saw this in Feb at the Public in previews. It's polished and sharper now. Staging in a bigger theater still works.

Don't see it if You don't like monologues. There's not a lot of action- the content and how it's handled is the crux of how these two work

80
Ambitious, Great acting, Clever

See it if the acting was tremendous

Don't see it if If you cannot handle death and its manifestations, don't go

90
Intelligent, Great acting, Delightful, Clever, Ambitious

See it if You love watching actors in their element crafting performances meant to make you think

Don't see it if You’re looking for a night of entertainment or traditional broadway fun.

Also It was truly delightful watching the contrast between Jake Gyllenhaal ... Read more Read less

94
Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you have the attention span to appreciate dual monologues, have an imaginative mind, and can handle triggers (death, grief)

Don't see it if you want flashy staging and costumes and gets bored by monologues

Also Not a super fan of Jake Gyllenhaal, but he was great and incredibly na... Read more Read less

90
Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want to have a memorable evening at the theater. Actors are amazing! The material is moving and a bit heavy.

Don't see it if If you looking for a light and funny entertaining evening.

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

See it if you like storytelling. I wasn’t aware that the entire show was simply 2 monologues. They were beautifully delivered and captivating.

Don't see it if you have a short attention span. It’s not a flashy production but rather intriguing.

88
Sad, Great writing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense

See it if You like literary theater. Monologues. Philosophy. Introspection. Good acting.

Don't see it if You are looking for light entertainment and an upbeat evening.

85
Well-acted, Heavy, Intense, Absorbing

See it if You want a change of pace from musicals. Each of the two 45-min soliloquies is absorbing, solemn, emotional & shattering in their own way.

Don't see it if You aren't ready to get gut-punched with real life stories and prefer lighter fare.

Also The two actors were both accomplished and a good yin and yang. The fir... Read more Read less

91
Thought-provoking, Must see, Masterful, Great acting, Clever

See it if You love great acting! Jake was especially entertaining and enthralling. Interesting stories and wonderful acting.

Don't see it if You get bored by simple staging and small scenery.

During previews
84
Ambitious, Resonant, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you’re a fan of great acting, challenging performances, or these two actors.

Don't see it if you don’t enjoy solo shows or are looking for a pick-me-up.

During previews
88
Intense, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Its about life and death and being left behind. Its two powerful monologue played by to talent actors.

Don't see it if Not a light show, not a musical

Also These two monologue can touch anybody for we all had hardship happen i... Read more Read less

During previews
93
Simple yet effective storytelling--more pathos than shock, Poetically haunting, tragic, humorous, and humbling, Ruminative and contemplative works that layer your life with reflection and meaning, Touching and sincere, Masterfully human

See it if you seek simple yet moving storytelling by two committed and talented actors, who elevate everyday into extraordinary (love and heartbreak).

Don't see it if you’re too emotionally-triggered by talk of death (children, fathers); uninterested in two thematically-linked yet unrelated monologues.

Also Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge stir memory and desire, life and dea... Read more Read less

During previews
85
Poignant, Unsettling, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if storytelling at the hands of gifted, generous actors appeal. Each gives an emotionally rending performance that pulls you in from the start.

Don't see it if you're seeking light, comic fare; an elaborate staging; or linear stories—timeline in each not always clear—emotional pull eclipses this.

Also Deeply satisfying theater! ... Read more Read less

During previews
84
Profound, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy bravura performances from 2 highly talented actors. Each shares very personal, difficult life experiences. Most of us would not.

Don't see it if You aren't interested in the introspection of others or if you don't want to think about your own fears of intimacy.

During previews
85
Great acting, Seering, Ambitious

See it if you like powerful, super-serious drama about universal topics. Men discussing feelings.

Don't see it if you would be impacted by details about death and personal loss. Could have used a few more humor/ wit release valves.

During previews
85
Resonant, Great writing, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if A fan of Jake or Tom. A story about life that comes full circle; the womb to the coffin! Rises up emotions on life events.

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

Also It was two monologues by 2 different playwrights with a similar line t... 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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Cast & Creatives (5)