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

Great acting, Absorbing

See it if if you are interested in history ,great set and great acting

Don't see it if overly long and upsetting death scene

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

See it if You're fascinated by a lot of philosophical debate and appreciate intelligence and great acting.

Don't see it if the thought of seeing a play about an ancient Greek philosopher bores you

Also Although a bit draggy in the 1st Act, the 2nd Act alone makes this a m... Read more Read less

Profound, Great writing, Intelligent, Masterful, Great acting

See it if You have an interest in the life of the mind. You want to understand why philosophy is relevant to life. You love drama.

Don't see it if You're not at all curious about how the ancient Greeks created the basis for the modern world. My Big Fat Greek Wedding was enough for you.

Also In a strong cast, David Aaron Baker was outstanding as Anytus, one of ... Read more Read less

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!

Heavy, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if You enjoy intellectual plays and being challenged to sort out >2 characters played by the same - great - actors

Don't see it if You want pure entertainment, you need to think to appreciate this play

Great acting, Great writing, Slow, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if Such great dialogue and very thought provoking especially in these times. Brilliant performances and very intense.

Don't see it if Show is long, and can be repetitive. It needs one's full concentration. Difficult subject matter and can be tedious at times.

Masterful, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if You enjoy questioning the beliefs around you and aren’t afraid of having your own beliefs challenged. It is masterfully done!!

Don't see it if You just want entertainment. This one will make you think.

Disappointing, Excruciating, Indulgent, Overrated

See it if You like to watch men yelling at each other and the audience.

Don't see it if You don't like to watch men yelling at each other and the audience.

Also I walked out at intermission and would have done so sooner if I didn't... Read more Read less

Slow, Insipid, Resonant, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you are interested in the way Socrates changed thinking, or want to be captivated by a brilliant performance by Michael Stuhlbarg.

Don't see it if you can't enjoy slow shows with many one-dimensional characters, even if many of the moments are passionate and intelligent.

Great writing, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if Loved how relevant the play was to today's situations

Don't see it if Don't enjoy long, philosophical plays

Resonant, Intelligent, Entertaining, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you would enjoy a dramatization of the Socratic dialogues at his life's end. Nice job of making his character annoying but inspiring.

Don't see it if Imaginary conversations appended to a play designed to be historical will spoil the enjoyment for you.

Thought-provoking, Must see, Great writing, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if You enjoy a well written play of ideas. Well staged, acted. Don't mind having to pay careful attention to a lot of words and characters.

Don't see it if You have a short attention span and prefer lighter fare and plot lines that are easy to follow.

Also I really enjoyed this production and appreciated the author's and Publ... Read more Read less

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.

Relevant, Intelligent, Indulgent, Cliched, Clever

See it if you want to experience Socrates as he might have been. The show can be more didactic than dramatic at times.

Don't see it if you want something that engages the heart more than the head. The "emotional" moments felt rather forced and unearned at times.

Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You don't have a problem with engagine but length discussions of epistomology

Don't see it if You think you might bored or tired.It's a long show - engaging if you are interested, but long.

Must see, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Clever, Ambitious

See it if You appreciate the classics.

Don't see it if You prefer theater that values emotions over ideas.

During previews
Ambitious, Funny, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if Excellent staging and acting. An insightful show

Don't see it if Long show. Concentration a must.

During previews
Indulgent, Resonant, Slow, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if Despite being verbose, dense & philosophically dry; drama still sustains interest & relevance w/Stuhlbarg's brave turn as a pompous Socrates

Don't see it if Unfortunately, can also feel like 3 hrs of mansplaining in bad lighting Still, a cautionary tale about the fragility of a democratic society

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
The socrates presented here is like your marxist uncle who challenges everything; he really pisses you off, but stimulates you to think, which, after all, is the point of this play

See it if powerfully dramatizes story of S vs Athens establishment & politics behind his death sentence; passionate performance of M Stuhlbarg as S

Don't see it if 2 many speeches; not delve deeply into what made S’s moral philosophy revolutionary; death scene so long, u think:drink the hemlock already!

Also Principle: S falls short of A Man for All Seasons/Sir Thomas More in d... Read more Read less

During previews
Didactic, Slow, Indulgent, Ambitious, Great acting

See it if you are a fan of Michael Stuhlbarg and you like dialogue-intensive, didactic, long plays.

Don't see it if you are not interested in a long lesson that attempts to cover history, philosophy and civics while illustrating the Socratic method.

Also The play is long, talky and repetitive with an excruciating death scen... Read more Read less

During previews
Disappointing, Slow, Ambitious

See it if you like Michael Stuhlbarg who is excellent. If you are interested in Socrates' arguments and thoughts.

Don't see it if you want an exciting drama. This is slow, almost three hours, all talk, little action. Well done but tedious.

During previews
Relevant, Intense, Intelligent

See it if a story told via philosophical debates/conversations that still feel relevant sounds interesting.

Don't see it if you don't like question-answered-with-a-question scenarios. The show is long. Single female role adds nothing to the story.

Also This was an entertaining show, but it drags towards the end of both ac... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Slow, Intense, Ambitious

See it if You need an explanation of Socrates’ life and death. Michael Stuhlbarg is very effective as the stubborn Socrates.

Don't see it if Play is long, stage is dark, lots of dialogue, nodded off in first act a few times so missed some of the important words.

Also Encourages one to think about the meaning of democracy.

During previews
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you want timely & intellectually fulfilling exploration of Socrates' life/death made relevant for today's need to figure out what is truth.

Don't see it if you won't let an almost 3-hr play unfold. With Columbo-like style, Socrates probes assertions. Brain gymnastics give intellectual muscle.

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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