Life & Times of Michael K
Closed 1h 55m
Life & Times of Michael K
82

Life & Times of Michael K NYC Reviews and Tickets

82%
(60 Ratings)
Positive
87%
Mixed
5%
Negative
8%
Members say
Ambitious, Absorbing, Clever, Slow, Great staging

About the Show

Michael K's journey becomes one of resilience and connection in a tumultuous South Africa.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (21)

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86 Reviews | 15 Followers
98
Memorable, Heartmoving, Enchanting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you loved "War Horse." This is the work of Basil Twist, puppeteer based on an apartheid-era novel.

Don't see it if you can't follow symbolism, inference, and metaphors

76 Reviews | 18 Followers
90
Long, Great staging, Intense, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if Puppets were entrancing. Mini versions were delightful. Voice acting was so well done.

Don't see it if Too long with no intermission. Michael just never gets a break and it's so sad. But it's still an important story that is relatable.

543 Reviews | 136 Followers
88
Exquisite puppetry, Powerful storytelling, Bleak

See it if you like artistically breathtaking performances that create an immersive feeling of time and place where borders of puppets and humans blur.

Don't see it if you're looking for a feel good show. This dark play deals with the hardship of human existence, set in times of war, violence & uncertainty.

81 Reviews | 25 Followers
83
Intense, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if you are interested in puppetry

Don't see it if can't sit through a long show (I would shorten this one)

310 Reviews | 33 Followers
81
Ambitious, Great puppetry, Moving, Absorbing, Heavy

See it if you appreciate masterful use of puppetry with compelling design, movement, & voice acting; you're in the mood to engage with weighty themes

Don't see it if you want a short, brisk piece (this is a fairly slow 2 hours/no intermission); you're in the mood for something light or fluffy

MSS
76 Reviews | 25 Followers
80
Clever, Moving, Great writing, Absorbing

See it if You would enjoy an intimate but big hearted tale of a poor but richly-lived life in South Africa (told with expert puppetry).

Don't see it if You would not enjoy an intimate but big hearted tale of a poor but richly-lived life in South Africa (told with expert puppetry). Read more

72 Reviews | 6 Followers
79
Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You like masterful puppetry to tell a compelling story.

Don't see it if You expect fluff in telling a very sad story. Read more

522 Reviews | 83 Followers
78
Thought-provoking, Slow, Intelligent, Ambitious, Clever

See it if you like puppets and the way they can be used to communicate complex emotions.

Don't see it if you like upbeat theater.

Critic Reviews (7)

The New York Times
December 5th, 2023

CRITIC’S PICK: “It is a radical artistic gesture, given the narrative’s setting, that posits ‘Michael K’ as a symbol of human existence. It’s a timely one, too, to consider the possibility of a connection with one’s homeland that surpasses earthly conflicts.”
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New York Theatre Guide
December 5th, 2023

“ ‘Life & Times of Michael K’, now running at St. Ann’s Warehouse, is as sprawling as the Karoo desert its title character must cross...To simplify this narrative and still allow us to project our stories onto Michael’s, he is portrayed as a puppet.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
December 5th, 2023

“The faces of the three puppeteers animating ‘Michael’ — who also voices the character — are rapt...’Michael’ is the result of their deep craftsmanship and their free self-sublimation. He is the alchemy of their attention and as such, Michael possesses his own indelible integrity.”
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Lighting & Sound America
December 11th, 2023

“These not-quite-life-sized characters, so deftly controlled, have an ease of movement and subtlety of expression that the finest actors might envy…If, as I suspect is true of many LSA readers, you are interested in this aspect of stage design, Life and Times of Michael K is unmissable If, however, you expect an involving narrative filled with captivating characters, you might think twice before embarking on Michael K's long journey across a blasted, war-torn South Africa.”
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New York Stage Review
December 4th, 2023

“...adaptor/director Lara Foot has done the work justice...Like the novel itself, the adaptation doesn’t come furnished with a shapely structure or handy message. Most page-to-stage adaptations simplify. This embodiment of Coetzee’s masterwork leaves the ambiguities of the original intact, affording an experience that’s all the more impactful.”
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Front Row Center
December 15th, 2023

“We are carried along on this journey of what we might consider an insignificant man because of the story telling of Coetzee and by the extraordinary tenderness and specificity of these puppeteers. They unfold Michael into existence, and when his time is up they return him whence he came. In between these two milestones Michael floats through life like a person bound to earth by the slenderest of threads. Like I said – it is magic.”
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New York Theater
December 4th, 2023

There is a stunning kind of poetry in the puppetry employed to dramatize Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee’s forty-year-old novel about a simple man who makes an epic journey through the physically and morally depleted landscape of South Africa. Like some of the most evocative poetry, the effect of “Life & Times of Michael K” at St. Ann’s Warehouse is often wondrous even when its exact meaning is not always clear.
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