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

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
Resonant, Relevant, Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting

See it if Although the cast is terrific and the subject matter resonant, theater demands more than a static presentation of the socratic method

Don't see it if It is hard to sit through three hours of socratic questioning even though elements of it are thought-provoking and resonant to our democracy

During previews
Thought-provoking, Slow, Great writing, Great acting

See it if Thinly disguised commentary of democracy with Great acting and writing in shakespeare style. Lead actors are amazing. Almost 3 hours

Don't see it if if you are tired of commentary on US democracy set in Athens. 3 hours of dense dialogue in shakespeare style.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Masterful, Great writing, Ambitious

See it if told via long philosophical debates/monologues that is really about the weakness and weakening of our democracy today as it was back when

Don't see it if 3 hours of concentrating on intense important debate about our country does not interest you.

Also Socrates can be very suborn and annoying at times - but that may be th... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Slow, Thought-provoking, Great performance, Great writing

See it if you're fascinated by ancient philosophy and enjoy masterful performances.

Don't see it if you think you're seeing Public's modern take on Socrates through the guise of a hip new musical, as the couple behind me expected to see.

Also A lot is being made about how topical the Socrates story is in light o... Read more Read less

During previews
Relevant, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if clear parallels between the ancient & modern world, persecution of Greek philosophers, origin of democracy, drama interest you.

Don't see it if formal, presentational, men-in-togas bores you. Only (1) woman in cast. 2.45hrs w 15min intermission drives you away

Also I love Hellenism. I saw 1st preview. The set is great--let your eyes w... Read more Read less

During previews
Terrible waste of time, Overrated

See it if Bone dry play. Someone at the Public should have rejected this script so as to spare thousands of people hours of disappointment and boredom

Don't see it if This was the first play I’ve seen where the ensemble actors onstage looked befuddled as to how to get into the text they were performing

Also I hope the show will be trimmed since almost all the scenes were unint... Read more Read less

During previews
Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Clever

See it if You want intelligent, timely, thought provoking content, with killer acting.

Don't see it if You are looking for light,carefree subject matter. Or have a problem with long, dialogue heavy material.

During previews
Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you are interested in history or philosophy.

Don't see it if you have a short attention span. It's full of dialog so if your mind waders you will miss a lot. No bells and whistles to hold attention...

During previews
Resonant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if It was a very absorbing exploration on Socrates, made vivid and intense by the lead actor, who was simply fantastic in the role.

Don't see it if It's a longer show that digs into questions of the human condition and society for which we are still seeking answers.

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.

During previews
Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You are fascinated by Socrates and curious about his relationship with Plato

Don't see it if You have limited patience for lots of talking and a show that although brilliantly acted could be edited down.

During previews
Intelligent, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like well-written and acted biographical stories that have something significant to say.

Don't see it if your attention span is less than three hours.

During previews
Informative, Absorbing

See it if you like the subject matter.

Don't see it if if the subject matter doesn't interest you.

Also It is amazing how analogous the Athens of 2500 years ago resonates wit... Read more Read less

During previews
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Absorbing, Ambitious



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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