Building the Wall
Closed 1h 30m
Building the Wall
77

Building the Wall NYC Reviews and Tickets

77%
(133 Reviews)
Positive
81%
Mixed
17%
Negative
2%
Members say
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing, Intense

About the Show

New World Stages presents Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan's new play set in a not-too-distant future when Trump's administration has carried out his campaign promise to round up and detain millions of immigrants.

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Member Reviews (133)

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618 Reviews | 274 Followers
81
Those who think trump is leading us to disaster will find this play a disquieting confirmation, others ...

See it if powerful case TRUMP launching events sliding country into "final solution" 4 immigrants; James Dale terrific lead showing banality of evil

Don't see it if play provides no new insights 2 rise of Trump; not subtle theatrically, in this 2 hander, Tunie as questioner not effective foil 2 Dale Read more

605 Reviews | 226 Followers
79
Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if You're interested in extremely current, topical plays about societal issues & what our future might look like under a Trump administration.

Don't see it if You're already seething about Trump and need theatre to de-stress you instead of reminding you of his agenda.

513 Reviews | 129 Followers
79
Chilling, Disturbing, Absorbing, Relevant, Edgy

See it if you enjoy political themed stories referencing the past, present and possible future.

Don't see it if you are so leery of our present government that one more crisis will send you over the edge. This is a very disturbing play.

464 Reviews | 128 Followers
90
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Riveting

See it if Politically themed drama that packs a serious punch is your thing. You are appalled by the road our country has been put on by Trump !

Don't see it if You like Trump because this powerfully written drama whose theme is an imagined horrendous result of his immigration policy is hard to watch

411 Reviews | 72 Followers
96
Intense, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant

See it if You worry about where DT's executive actions are taking the country and their unintended consequences.

Don't see it if You think Trump is doing a good job. Read more

402 Reviews | 86 Followers
75
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you're interested in a what-if scenario regarding immigration, deportation, and going too far. Gives you something to think about.

Don't see it if you get bored by a play with only two characters, you don't like matter-of-fact dialogue or political theater

384 Reviews | 54 Followers
85
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intense, Unrealistic, Biased

See it if are looking for a worst case scenario about our current political climate. It is an interesting study that is far fetched and speculative.

Don't see it if You prefer political shows that are not one sided and not designed as propaganda. Read more

376 Reviews | 53 Followers
80
Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Riveting, Terrifying

See it if you like a play that is extremely well acted, cautionary, can be emotionally harrowing and deals with a societal trend that is alarming.

Don't see it if desire light entertainment, non political content and happy endings.

Critic Reviews (31)

The New York Times
May 24th, 2017

“Slick and dispiriting…The dialogue, and even the thinness of the characters, are not the core problems here. Both are, in any case, mitigated by the director Edelson’s production, which is expertly paced, beautifully lit and perfectly cast…‘Building the Wall’ might as well be called ‘Building the Shelving Unit,’ for all the tension it produces...There is no complexity...‘Building the Wall’ is too becalmed to be agitprop. It’s just propaganda—by which I mean that it soothes instead of arouses.”
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Time Out New York
May 26th, 2017

"The rough first draft of a journalistic play...A sloppy soup of factoids, clichés and dire portent, the show may elicit standing ovations from those who already share its fears, but they’re only standing in place...Exposition doesn’t come much balder than it does here...The characters and the history they lay out in retrospect are generic and implausible...The subject requires more than propagandistic alarm. It’s too easy to be incendiary when what you’re burning is a straw man."
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The Hollywood Reporter
May 24th, 2017

“A solid reminder of how quickly and effectively theater can respond to what’s going on in the world…‘Building the Wall’ contains passionate anger and urgency and, despite the occasional didactic exchange in which the characters all too obviously serve as mouthpieces for political arguments, it’s extremely well written…Despite its predictable aspects, the play still emerges as powerful political theater. It never feels static, thanks to Edelson’s taut staging and the gripping performances.”
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Variety
May 24th, 2017

“A powerful dystopian drama…The work is sure to provoke shock, awe and much talk…A hot-off-the-laptop scorcher of a play…The play’s schematic structure has overly familiar elements of conversational confrontations…But it’s gripping storytelling, and powerful performances trump any sense of an overworked template. Under director Ari Edelson’s well-measured direction, Tunie is cool and focused…Dale is riveting as Rick.”
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The Wall Street Journal
May 25th, 2017

"Politics makes artists stupid...'Building the Wall' is the dumbest play I’ve ever reviewed...There is nothing remotely subtle or intelligent about 'Building the Wall,' which is both dramaturgically inept and simple-minded well past the point of unintended comedy...Mr. Dale is unexpectedly plausible as Rick. Not so Ms. Tunie, who is stiff and self-righteous, though I doubt that’s her fault, since Mr. Schenkkan wrote her part that way. Ari Edelson’s staging is numbingly static."
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New York Daily News
May 24th, 2017

“Written in just a week before the election, the play seeks to push buttons and on that level succeeds. It’s also fast moving and credibly acted. Dale’s performance is strong and believable. Tunie's take on an academic could use a bit of fine-tuning. Dramatically, it’s a mostly static hour and a half…And details nag…Despite weaknesses, the play has an ace up its sleeve — and it saves it for last.”
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AM New York
May 24th, 2017

“An absorbing and unapologetically disturbing drama…An intimate and tight staging directed by Ari Edelson…With dystopian thrillers now in vogue, ‘Building the Wall’ gives yet another perspective on how ordinary individuals can be swept up by history, either willingly or unwittingly. In writing ‘Building the Wall’ and getting it produced so quickly, Schenkkan has initiated a conversation about where the country is heading.”
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Theatermania
May 24th, 2017

"Rather than helping us better understand and resist the Trump administration, ‘Building the Wall’ merely reinforces what we already know…It's a lot of tell, with very little to show. You may find yout mind wandering from this somewhat dull staged conversation…Dale does a fine job coloring Schenkkan's sketch of a Texan good old boy…Tunie is also believably human…A C-minus stab at dystopian fiction from a politically engaged playwright still burning with anger and confusion."
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