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

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

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.

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.


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.

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

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

Disappointing, Slow

See it if You are dying to know ALL about Socrates and Ancient Greece.

Don't see it if You don't like long didactic plays/lectures

Also It's more of a lecture than a play. I felt like I was watching someone... Read more Read less

Sophmoric, Raunchy, Excruciating, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if You like bawdy plays- the first act reminded me of Blazing Saddles.

Don't see it if You don’t remember your college Greek history. Besides Socrates and Plato, there are numerous characters with long Greek names.

Cerebral slow thought provoking

See it if You’re in the mood to think

Don't see it if You want something light and easy to digest

Raunchy, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you want to learn more about his life

Don't see it if you don't

Slow, Disappointing, Relevant

See it if You are fascinated by Greek philosophy /history, and enjoy interrogations about the meaning of life. You find historic parallels intriguing.

Don't see it if You are impatient with slow first acts with unclear direction. You dislike sexual innuendo. YOu want a happy ending!

Epic, Great staging, Excruciating, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if If you like really good lighting, good acting and long, long philosophical discussions.

Don't see it if If you don't like long philosophical discussions and want to have some idea where a story is heading.

During previews
Woefully dated, Good idea, Uninspired, Lazy

See it if you think a rudimentary 3-D history (& philosophy) lesson might be worth $60-plus dollars & 2-&-a-half hours of your time.

Don't see it if you are expecting anything exciting or original in a drama that tracks a bold thinker through 1 of the most important trials in history.

Also I will state my bias upfront: Good theater demands more than animating... Read more Read less

During previews
Democracy discussions, Socratic logic on repeat, Verbose, Ambitious, Great acting

See it if You desire an evening of verbose, Socratic dialogue about the man himself, Athens, and democracy. Like logic, philosophy, and politics.

Don't see it if Need action beyond that which is rhetorical.

During previews
Quirky, Overrated, Slow, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if You like a play that is more like a college end of term project than a well written piece of good theater. Only for Stuhlbarg fans.

Don't see it if You do not like amateurishly written, poorly performed exercises in tedium.

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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