Nat Turner in Jerusalem
Closed 1h 40m
Nat Turner in Jerusalem

Nat Turner in Jerusalem NYC Reviews and Tickets

(107 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.

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Member Reviews (107)

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163 Reviews | 21 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Masterful, Must see

See it if This is a show that gives you more insight to a person you did not really know about.His characterization was incredible.Really inspiring.

Don't see it if If you don't want to understand why someone would kill women and children on their quest for freedom.

257 Reviews | 62 Followers
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 Read more

710 Reviews | 309 Followers
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 Read more

86 Reviews | 57 Followers
Compelling, Resonant, Riveting, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if you're interested in the reverberations of history and compelling spiritual arguments.

Don't see it if moral and spiritual debates are boring for you.

424 Reviews | 83 Followers
Absorbing, Great acting, Clever

See it if Well acted historical drama!

Don't see it if If you only like musicals

266 Reviews | 51 Followers
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. Read more

175 Reviews | 20 Followers
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

555 Reviews | 85 Followers
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!

Critic Reviews (27)

The New York Times
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 dialectic ingenuity. Mostly, though 'Nat Turner in Jerusalem' is a static work, as iconography tends to be. Sandberg-Zakian’s direction brings little kinetic energy or surprise to the proceedings."
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Time Out New York
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 an unexpected sweetness that grows on you and makes his flashes of righteous rage all the more rattling. But Vickers, as Gray, is too callow to add nuance or depth to his scenes."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
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, has smartly erected a sturdy scaffold around the material...The production, directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, has nerves of steel."
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The Hollywood Reporter
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' should have much more dramatic urgency than it does. Performed often in near-darkness, the sluggish play succeeds less in stirring emotions than lulling you to sleep."
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September 26th, 2016

"The most interesting part of the creative exercise is not the activity inside Turner's cell, but the breadth of its implications about our relationship with history as a whole — whether 200 years past or flooding your Twitter feeds as we speak...The dialogue employed is filled with lovely prose and discerning metaphors. Though with little in the way of plot to prop up the dense language, and characters who seem immovable, the story can occasionally amble through the long night."
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Lighting & Sound America
October 3rd, 2016

"Davis' current effort contains any number of gripping passages, but stumbles while trying to find a dramatic framework...The production is aided enormously by the performance of Phillip James Brannon...He doesn't make a single false step...But if Davis' words sing, his handling of dramatic structure still needs work...Time and again, the play works up an atmosphere of tension, only to let it dissipate. It's a stop-and-start approach that keeps us from becoming fully engaged."
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Talkin' Broadway
September 26th, 2016

"All this makes 'Nat Turner in Jerusalem' an affair that's as staid as it is well meaning, and as dull and dreary as it is portentous. When historical facts preclude traditional suspense, they need to be replaced with something to substitute for it...Also a problem is Megan Sandberg-Zakian's oppressively conceptual staging which tries to impart motion and energy on the swiftly flowing waterway of progress, but looks alternately suffocating and silly."
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October 4th, 2016

"Davis’ play has an inventive but murky scenario that’s given an overwrought presentation and doesn’t ignite. It's only fitfully engrossing despite the efforts of those involved...Structured as a series of short scenes that are well written, the play cumulatively doesn’t hold interest...Brannon is compelling...Vickers is outstanding...If the production relied on this element it is possible that it would have been more satisfying. Instead there is a reliance on concepts and effects."
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