Already closed | 1h 40m | East Village

Nat Turner in Jerusalem

From 107 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow, Relevant, Absorbing

About the show

New York Theatre Workshop presents Nathan Alan Davis' new two-hander about slave revolutionary Nat Turner and the lawyer who shared his story with the world. More…

In August 1831, Nat Turner led a slave uprising that shook the conscience of the nation. Turner's startling account of his prophecy and the insurrection was recorded and published by attorney Thomas R. Gray. NYTW 2050 Fellow Nathan Alan Davis makes his New York debut with this timely play, which imagines Turner’s final night in a jail cell in Jerusalem, Virginia, as he is revisited by Gray and they reckon with what has passed and what the dawn will bring.

Member Reviews (107)


Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow, Relevant, Absorbing
Avg Score

Great acting, Disappointing, Resonant, Slow

See it if Two powerful performances fail to ignite the combustible events of iconic slave Nat Turner's life; sometime lyrical prose softens dullness

Don't see it if You lack patience & historical perspectives; often preachy narrative can grate

Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you need a refresher course re: pre- Civil Was A two-hander worth seeing.

Don't see it if have trouble with small cushions for wooden bleacher type sets.. (only 90 minutes or so though)

Riveting performance by phillip brannon as nat turner in play that eloquently conveys religious roots of black drive 4 retribution vs. slavery/dehumanization

See it if /for captivating contest btw Turner as avenging angel vs. lawyer horrified at killing of innocents

Don't see it if /since asymmetrical contest/Turner more powerfully portrayed; play is inert/devoid of drama as neither party moves the other

Also This play does six things very well:... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Slow, Thought-provoking, Historical

See it if you want to see: exceptional acting by Phillip James Brannon; a window into one example why racial and ethnic suppression do not work.

Don't see it if historical stories do not interest you; you do not like talky plays with little action; you dread a story that you know will end in death.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intense

See it if you like theatre that makes you think, that challenges your preconceptions. Acting was superb. Direction was marvelous. Well staged.

Don't see it if you want a light hearted romp!

Fascinating spiritual inspiring relevant

See it if Turner's divinely inspired rebellion as the roots of Black Lives Matter. Poetic script beautifully directed and acted. Philip Brannon soars

Don't see it if The wooden seats have backs and cushions and are not uncomfortable. It must have cost a lot to reconfigure NYTW. The experience is worth it

Slow, Waaaaay existential, Confusing, Good acting

See it if you like shows that make you wonder what's actually going on, & leave you no less confused than when you arrived. Not much actually happens.

Don't see it if you're hoping to understand Nat Turner better. The dialogue goes on and on with very little of substance being communicated.

Also Having the play start with a return visit by Thomas Gray, after he's a... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Indulgent, Relevant

See it if a well-modulated, emotional, believable performance is a goal. Mr. Brannon scores a 90. The play-would rather read-extraordinarily topical.

Don't see it if you are not able to sit quietly while two characters debate. if you have difficulty listening to violence retold.

Also The material is stark, topical, and the anger true. please don't go if... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Great acting, Excruciating

See it if you must

Don't see it if enjoy well written pieces about an historical event. It is faction .

Slow, two person play

See it if you are interested in race, turner's story, american history.

Don't see it if you find two person plays, minimal staging, very talky, and little action difficult to watch.

Absorbing, Great acting, Clever

See it if Well acted historical drama!

Don't see it if If you only like musicals

Ambitious, Disappointing, Intelligent, Relevant, Slow

See it if You are a student of American history.

Don't see it if Are an impatient audience member.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You are interested in American history, and African-American history particularly.

Don't see it if If you don't like historical plays or are uncomfortable hearing about Nat Turner's rebellion, including several violent acts.

Also Although current events are not specifically referenced, one is obviou... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Slow, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if you are interested in the history of race conflict and the futility of extreme action

Don't see it if you want better written theater that presents points of view with clarity and understanding

Banal, Ambitious, Disappointing, Indulgent, Slow

See it if you like slow agonizing drama while sitting on benches with low hard backs.

Don't see it if you hate deafening hip hop pre show and between scenes. Or if you find Bic candle lighters in 1830 problematic.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Strong writing, Relevant

See it if You want to be provoked & are open to seeing & understanding the links between current events & US history of slavery

Don't see it if Want a light night of entertainment

Also Fantastic in just about every way - this is likely to be reprised - do... Read more Read less

Intense, Slow, Resonant, Relevant, Ambitious

See it if you like preachy stories; like historical drama; like 2-handers that are 90 minutes;

Don't see it if you don't like slavery related stories; don't like historical plays; don't like to feel preached at; don't like uncomfortable subjects;

Also there were a few inspirational dialogues. One in particular was just a... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Historical, Relevant, Great staging

See it if Acting and staging matter most. You're a history buff. You can glean meaning and enjoy engaging discussion follow the show.

Don't see it if You have high expectations for this production. You want straightforward theater & you don't like ambiguity.

Ambitious, Intense, Intelligent, Well acted, Historical

See it if you want to consider a generally forgotten event in American history, still relevant today, very well presented by the actors.

Don't see it if a discussion of American slavery might be boring.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Historical, Not that interesting, Could have been better

See it if you like history. See it if you are interested in black history.

Don't see it if you do not enjoy two/three character plays.

Absorbing, Intense, Great acting, Great staging, Relevant

See it if you are in the mood for an intense historical two-hander. the staging is beautiful in its simplicity.

Don't see it if the topic of slavery makes you uncomfortable

Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You like intense, well-acted, drama.

Don't see it if You don't like minimal sets and non-traditional seating. Dramatic, upsetting religious discussions.

Indulgent, Intelligent, Profound, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if curious about Nat Turner and have patience for poetic writing and little plot

Don't see it if get bored easily by repetition and lack of traditional action

Disappointing, Tedious, Physically uncomfortable, Draggy

See it if you can perch on a bench for two hours and maintain concentration.

Don't see it if You follow the critics reviews and choose accordingly.

Disappointing, Cliched, Indulgent, Slow

See it if Extra long, convoluted play making Nat Turner more of a hero. Nice acting but mediocre direction.

Don't see it if You want to see a more honest view of the Nat Turner story.

September 26th, 2016
"What suspense there is lies in waiting to see if Turner will respond to Gray’s plea and, more important, if the prisoner will in any way change the thinking of the other men. The answer to both turns out to be a qualified yes, and the ways in which Davis comes to these conclusions have a certain...
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September 26th, 2016
"Davis’s way into the material is neither historical pageant nor postmodern abstraction; he and director Megan Sandberg-Zakian opt (almost quaintly) for poetic naturalism with theatrical flourishes...Such a stolid, talky approach puts the burden, unfortunately, on the acting. Brannon’s Turner has...
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September 26th, 2016
"Davis resists any singular reading, let alone an overtly political one. He prefers to let the tale remain as mysterious and open-ended as possible, and thus, in its way, more terrifying. Plays that try to walk that line usually trip, but Davis, who is 36 and whose work is largely new to New York...
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September 26th, 2016
"Unfortunately, despite the incendiary nature of its subject matter, 'Nat Turner in Jerusalem' emerges as a tedious, lifeless affair...Brannon takes up some of the evening's slack with his fiercely commanding performance as Turner, but Vickers struggles in his two roles...'Nat Turner in Jerusalem...
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