Closed 1h 10m
Before Your Very Eyes
East Village
71

Before Your Very Eyes NYC Reviews and Tickets

71%
(23 Reviews)
Positive
74%
Mixed
9%
Negative
17%
Members say
Thought-provoking, Clever, Absorbing, Ambitious, Original

About the Show

The Public Theater and international avant-garde troupe Gob Squad present the US premiere about the lives of seven individuals living in fast forward.

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Member Reviews (23)

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29
Like watching a bad home movie

See it if you enjoy watching high-spirited young actors moving and acting spontaneously

Don't see it if you don't think good theater is provided by observing young actors in unstructured play while contemplating the mystery of death; huh?

95
Absorbing, Original, Creative, Inventive, Profound

See it if you enjoy experimental theatre at its finest. The cast I saw were all astonishing, no mean feat from actors so young.

Don't see it if you do not like experimental theatre and do not like being moved and forced to think about your choices made in life.

Critic Reviews (17)

October 26th, 2015

"'Before Your Very Eyes' is a downer with an upper of a cast. That contrast is pretty much the entire point of this ingenious but ultimately unsurprising theatrical essay... Moments throb with a palpable human pulse and, implicitly, our awareness that all human pulses eventually stop...In stressing the way time erases rather than embellishes, 'Before Your Very Eyes' digs itself into the special rut of classic Everyman plays."
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October 28th, 2015

"'Before' concerns itself with speed and time and death; it does so even before it asks the children to pretend to be teenagers or adults. Parts of this are heartbreaking...Gob Squad is poking fun at its own milieu here, and that self-critique fits poorly on these small shoulders. What fits better is exuberance and clarity, both of which are in full supply during the dance numbers and the video interviews."
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October 26th, 2015

"'Before Your Very Eyes' is basically 70 minutes of watching kids play dress-up, but not the cutesy version that most adults would like to imagine. The Gob Squad's take on make-believe feels a lot more truthful. It's downright disarming in its honesty...While the show ostensibly depicts the very specific lifecycle of the upper middle-class Americans, it actually reveals how observant kids are of adult behavior. It may feel like we're watching them onstage, but they're actually watching us."
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October 27th, 2015

"'Before Your Very Eyes' never quite reveals a purpose for its existence. The kids are terrific and fun to watch, but while the 70 minute experimental study is reasonably entertaining, it's not especially enlightening."
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October 26th, 2015

"It would be an exaggeration to say I ever got lost in their game of dress-up, but during a couple of instances, I came close... If the human effects are undeniably good, and the performers a pleasure to watch, there's not enough of a structure to justify the effort that's gone into this. Almost a concept without an execution, 'Before Your Very Eyes' comes to rely on clichés more than it does the fresh thinking the setup portends."
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November 8th, 2015

"We can readily see ourselves through the eyes of these youngsters, recalling the different stages of our lives and it has great emotional impact. These youngsters, however, may find themselves better prepared as they’re living through life on fast-forward (70 minutes) knowing more about what ultimately awaits them."
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October 27th, 2015

"A mixture of joy, sorrow, laughter and tears is an almost assured response from the audience as seven child actors ages 9 to 14, pretend to see themselves maturing through progressive stages of life from the present to old age and death...The beauty of 'Before Your Very Eyes' is that we don't feel as if children are giving a performance."
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November 2nd, 2015

"Just as 'Boyhood' earned kudos for doing what Hollywood never does, 'Before Your Very Eyes' gets the same nod. No one does this in theater. So, when it works (again, moments), bravo! And when it doesn’t work (even at 70 minutes it got tedious) still bravo for innovation. If I were a high school drama teacher, I would hope to produce this wonderful piece at my school. If I were just a New Yorker looking for an interesting night out, I could do better."
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October 27th, 2015

"If our kids are growing up so fast, looking at these seven children from across New York’s social and cultural fabric, is to want them to hold on to what makes childhood so exciting: optimism, possibility and dreams...'Before Your Very Eyes' is an invitation to not only not stop them, but to see them get where they want to go, even if it means putting blinders on our own fears, and resurrecting a little crazy optimism again, a little fearless energy, when childhood is long gone."
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October 26th, 2015

"Dress-up has never seemed more sophisticated than in 'Before Your Very Eyes,' the intriguing 70-minute theater piece at the Public Theater...While offering no especially fresh or profound insights into the aging process or life as it’s lived today, 'Before Your Very Eyes' is full of chaotic and kinetic business that occasionally scores as amusing or thought provoking. There’s at least one moment in each Age of Man that feels spot-on."
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October 26th, 2015

"More might have been made of the relationship between the children and the voice of the adult minder and it’s never clear if the characters the youngsters play are lives the children imagine...Throughout, the children are disarming in their enthusiasm and occasional awkwardness. The overarching effect is silly, tender and sad. Maybe that’s just like life. Maybe it isn’t. It’s still pretty wonderful to see."
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October 27th, 2015

"Gamely embodying ages not their own, they reveal how arbitrary our ideas about age really are... Here, performance becomes a time-lapse camera, transforming aging into action — until the end, when the cast leaps backward out of the mirrored walls and returns to inhabiting the ages they were before the show. Except not really: They, and we, are 90 minutes older."
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October 26th, 2015

"The live action on stage is interspersed with pre-recorded video of the children talking about their dreams and hopes, and asking their 'older' selves if they still dream and hope about the same things; if they are still afraid of the same things; if they've achieved their goals. Seeing the wonder in the children's eyes met with a loss of innocence, teen angst, adult cynicism, older adult resignation...It's truly affecting."
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November 9th, 2015

"The visual impact of seeing these kids interact with their former selves is bound to serve an emotional wallop; it’s almost as though the whole project might have sprung from this premise...We see the kids age in front of us, wearing rebellious teenager clothes, then transition to 30-somethings, then 50-somethings, and finally octogenarians. It feels a little gimmicky at times. But I appreciate seeing how this group experiments with the boundaries of theater."
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November 2nd, 2015

"Definitely a good watch to share with your significant other or mother, but the content gets slightly graphic, inappropriate, suggestive, and vulgar at times – a big part of what makes it so fun. This is a must see for anyone who wonders about the present, future or past."
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M
July 2nd, 2012
For a previous production

"The show is a minor-miracle, a marvel to behold. It almost needs a drum-roll. Over 90 minutes, these nine children will run the gamut of human existence, zipping through the aging process at warp speed and hurtling towards the grave...Cute young kids + life’s brief candle = coolly detached existential humour + inevitable lump in throat."
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F
July 2nd, 2012
For a previous production

"The ambition of Gob Squad’s creation becomes clear as video of the children at earlier stages of their lives is projected onto screens, generating poignant moments as they each confront their younger selves. Together with playful interrogations of youth, aging and self-identity, Gob Squad attempt to nudge at even bigger concerns."
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