Already closed | East Village


From 90 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Absorbing

About the show

The Public offers a new play drama about a complicated man who changed how the world thought. "Socrates" is a tribute to the man who continues to inspire us to question authority and defend freedom of belief. More…

"Socrates" is an intellectual thrill ride from the philosopher’s growing prominence in democratic Athens through the military and social upheavals that led to one of the most infamous executions in Western history. Tony Award winner Doug Hughes ("Doubt," "Junk") directs.

Member Reviews (90)


Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Absorbing
Avg Score

Didactic, Loquacious, Great lead performance, Intelligent, Slow

See it if u want to learn about Socrates via "Masterpiece Theatre lite" where speechifying & instruction take center stage over drama & theatricality.

Don't see it if u value emotion, depth, conflict & theatrics over rhetoric & exposition; u don't want to watch an old man wordlessly bathe for 10 minutes.

Also See it if... you want to see a fiery, towering, unforgettable performa... Read more Read less

Confusing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Overlong, Ambitious

See it if interested in Greek history, Socrates's life, death & methods, the emergence of Plato as philosopher, plays with many characters

Don't see it if don't like nonlinear non-chronological plots or care about Greek history, confused by actors playing multiple parts with unfamiliar names

Thought-provoking, Indulgent, Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if Surgically precise dissection of the Greek academic. Stuhlbarg is on a pop-culture roll right now and still chooses the stage. Huge cast.

Don't see it if Intellectual debates.The cast is so large that it resembles figurative gladiators battling it out in a cerebral arena Shakespeare inthe Park

Democracy in trouble, Relevant, Verbose, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you are a philosopher at heart; enjoy verbose, intellectual discourse; Stuhlbarg is absolutely brilliant with a terrific ensemble cast.

Don't see it if First act badly in need of editing; opening scene feels endless; 2nd act is shorter, less wordy, more active & more interesting.

Also As portrayed, the relentless Socrates is one frustrating but lovable m... Read more Read less

Excruciating, Indulgent, Disappointing, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if you want to see a tour-de-force performance by Michael Stuhlbarg.

Don't see it if you want to see a play that is only intermittently interesting. The opening scenes are a bit muddled. If you do not like overly talky plays.

Also One problem with Martinson Hall, the theatre where "Socrates" is playi... Read more Read less

Loooooooooong, Slow, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if If you want to see spectacular acting about a very interesting historical figure. A very verbose plays centered around intense dialogue

Don't see it if You want any kind of action or any scene that isn't very heavily dialogue heavy. At nearly 3hrs long, it is a bit exhausting.

Slow, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if you're looking for an intelligent play that requires a lot of close attention and thinking. Fantastic performances, relevant themes.

Don't see it if you prefer something more action-packed or have a short attention span. If you find long, wordy and slow plays excruciating.

Slow, Relevant, Quirky, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy a great debate that never gets properly settled. Michael Stuhlbarg is wonderful.

Don't see it if circular logic, long talky pieces are not your thing

Academic, Indulgent, Slow, Great acting, Relevant

See it if you like wordy intellectual plays. The discourse was intelligent but way too much talking.

Don't see it if you think watching a group of smart, privileged men drone on about academic issues is boring.

Great acting, Long first act, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if historical drama about the Greek philosopher with multiple examples of his logical arguments to get to truth - what is wisdom, virtue etc.

Don't see it if actors playing more than one role; long & academic first half although second act more human as the play gets closer to his death scene

Also worth it for the amazing performance by Michael Stuhlbarg as Socrates.


See it if Want a talky treatise about Socrates - good actors though.

Don't see it if Need something to actually happen. Too much being talked to. One can fall asleep and wake up 1/2 hour later and not have missed anything.

Demanding, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You want to combine theater and Intro to Philosophy in a way that is more engaging than college ever was

Don't see it if You need action without being expected to listen carefully and think...but still be entertained

Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if Interesing play about Socrates'views and effects on Philosophy. Great job by playwright,actor,director,Tim Blake Nelson.Excellent acting.

Don't see it if Subject matter is not of interest to you.Play is 3 hours long and requires a good attention span.

Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You like to engage with challenging ideas and can let go of plot during this show. You can accept that the world depicted is male only.

Don't see it if A long, talky debate of philosophical concepts is not your thing.

Also Painfully timely exploration of the nature and hypocrisies of democrac... Read more Read less

Slow, Insipid

See it if You need to catch up on your Socrates history. This tells the story, in flashback for some reason, but little more.

Don't see it if You'd like to care more about the cranky, principled character and his milieu. You question the acting technique of bursting in&out of anger

Profound, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you have admired Socrates & wanted to know more about him. Portrayed by the incomparable Michael Stuhlbarg this is an evening well-spent

Don't see it if You have no interest in philosophy

Intelligent, Slow, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if you like dramas that have almost no humor in them; you want to see a great scene in the second act that involves Socrates' wife

Don't see it if you want a comedy or a fun play; you can't sit through a 3 hour drama

Overlong, Great acting, Intelligent, Ambitious

See it if Calling all philosophy majors for a play about the Socratic Method. Wonderful performance by Michael Stuhlbarg in the title role.

Don't see it if Many questions are asked few are answered in the pursuit of Truth. The play is too long and a bit repetitious.

Also Michael Stahlbarg as Socrates keeps this boat afloat. The opening mono... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Too long, Slow, Great acting

See it if a brilliant performance by Michael Stuhlbarg plus an intelligent take on the methods of Socrates can make up for excessive length.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a slow, very long play that is totally cerebral and requires intense listening.

Slow, Raunchy, Indulgent, Ambitious, Great acting

See it if you seek a night of philosophical exposition, with little drama. The only reason to see it is Stuhlbarg, who can breathe life into ANYthing.

Don't see it if This is not much of a play. it's way overlong, esp the excruciating death scene. Many cast members apparently believe acting is shouting.

Also It's a serious study of Socrates' thought, but it isn't theater.

Overrated, Slow, Raunchy, Cliched, Disappointing

See it if you know nothing about the man and his philosophy. This is a superficial and obvious vehicle that misses an opportunity to delve into him

Don't see it if you want more than obvious polemics and a rather clumsy attempt to show the parallel with today's political and social scene

Overextended, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you are interested in philosophy and history or if you want to see a magnificent performance from Michael Stuhlbarg.

Don't see it if you have little patience for very long discussions about big ideas.

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

See it if you are interested in life and death of Socrates or if you want to see great Michael Stuhlbarg in action.

Don't see it if you are not interested in the historical figure, or can not or do not like to sit through a long play.

History buffs delight

See it if you know the story of Socrates and want to hear a vibrant retelling. See it if you do not know the story and want to.

Don't see it if you are bored by philosophers and have no interest in learning more about Athens, the bed of democracy, and Socrates and Plato.

Also The acting was excellent as was the direction.. I thought the first ac... Read more Read less

Masterful, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if Michael Stuhlbarg is a very good actor. Socrates is highly political and intense.

Don't see it if Long plays with lots rhetoric and politics turn you off.

April 16th, 2019
"Argument and inquiry are the engines of 'Socrates,' starring a sublime Michael Stuhlbarg in the title role. In a meticulously handsome production by Doug Hughes, this is a play that hums with intelligence...Reverence is a heavy thing, and it weighs down this nearly three-hour play, whose overlon...
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April 16th, 2019
"'Socrates' is dragged down by loquacious speechifying, excessive double casting and the general stasis of Doug Hughes's plant-your-feet-and-spew staging...Just when you're ready to give up, however, the spotlight shifts in earnest to Stuhlbarg's arresting performance as a fascinating, fallible, ...
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April 16th, 2019
“Overlong, dramatically flat...There are so many actors...But only one of these actors really commands our attention...If you can get through the first couple of scenes, it’s intermittently exciting to watch...The fact that the play does eventually manage to pull up and away from it is a great cr...
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April 16th, 2019
"Nelson attempts to bring this historical figure to theatrical life but mainly succeeds in boring the audience...The play can certainly be commended for its intellectual rigor and astute illustration of the Socratic method...But it ultimately comes across as more rhetoric than drama...That the ev...
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