Already closed | 1h 55m | East Village

The Dance of Death

From 97 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Funny, Great staging, Absorbing, Entertaining

About the show

Classic Stage Company presents Strindberg's celebrated drama, a bleak examination of marriage and the social institutions governing it. More…

Retired military man Edgar and his wife Alice have given up on any semblance of civility toward each other on the threshold of their 25th wedding anniversary. Due to their isolation, however, they are as codependent as they are hateful. Seething with cruelty, and punctuated by absurdity and humor, Strindberg’s electrifying play was ages ahead of its time in its bleak examination of marriage and the social institutions governing it.

"The Dance of Death" will be performed in repertory with "Mies Julie."

1h 55m | Already closed | Classic Stage Company (East Village)

Member Reviews (97)


Great acting, Funny, Great staging, Absorbing, Entertaining
Avg Score

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if to see a less popular Strindberg dark comedy in which a dissatisfied couple, trapped in a miserable 25 year marriage, trade barbs & torments

Don't see it if you seek sentimentality, romance, light-hearted humor & happy endings.

Also This play, with which I was not previously familiar, is a clear influe... Read more Read less

Slow, Thought-provoking, Intense, Disappointing, Resonant

See it if It's McPherson's dark Irish humor in adapt that provides most interest in this fitful revival Actors tend to lean into sit-com territory

Don't see it if Drama frustrated by Clark's lackluster comic-centric direction Couple's danger & desperation never really reaches Stindbergian heights

Banal, Confusing, Excruciating, Indulgent, Overrated

See it if a tepid take of Strindberg suits your preferences

Don't see it if morbid depressing stories amplified by a monotone cast and dramatized by a gory playwright are abhorrent to you

Humorous, Entertaining, Quirky, Slow, Disappointing

See it if a darkly funny story of a miserable marriage (on the eve of the 25th anniversary) where the spouses trade vicious barbs;

Don't see it if you want to be emotionally moved - either concerned or frightened or on the edge of your seat; some acting over the top; drags at 110 mins.

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Romantic, Quirky

See it if Strindberg is an acquired taste, but this translation brings out the humor in a truly dysfunctional marriage

Don't see it if You have a low attention span or like your plays to be clearly comedy or drama . ..not both

Funny, Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Exhausting

See it if you can steel yourself for an evening with the most unpleasant people you have probably ever met. It is certainly never boring!

Don't see it if you like light, uplifting fare with a happy ending.

Great acting, Quirky, Raunchy, Great staging

See it if If you Are A Strindberg admirer and enjoy a reimagining of a familiar story

Don't see it if You want to see a story told in the mindset of the playwright and don't want to sit through almost two hours of people sniping at each other

Clever, Great acting, Dizzying, Masterful, Intense

See it if you are a fan of August Strindberg or simply want to see an extremely well done show all around

Don't see it if you are bothered by people laughing at inappropriate situations or physical violence

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Masterful, Intelligent

See it if like great acting and great direction. This was an unexpected delight. I absolutely loved it. Victoria Clark has done excellent work! Go!!

Don't see it if you don't like Strindberg, I guess - but that's not fair, maybe you SHOULD see it if you don't like Strindberg. It will reset your barometer


See it if u like Strindberg, good direction, want to c a precursor to Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolfe/an interesting adaptation by Conor McPherson

Don't see it if if are in an impossible marriage u will never leave/ do not feel like being depressed

Also i felt lead actress was miscast.

Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy a small cast and a story of a failing toxic marriage.

Don't see it if you don't like intimate theater spaces. If you don't enjoy Who's Afriad of Virginia Woolf type shows.


See it if You want to have a laugh at the expense of a classic play.

Don't see it if You value truth in acting or directing.

During previews
Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Interesting

See it if you like dramatic characters, dark comedy and plot twists. This was very entertaining. Lots of laughs and gasps.

Don't see it if you don't like small plays and simple sets. Could be 15 min shorter. Pack more of the punches.

During previews
Well acted, Entertaining, Funny, Slow

See it if You enjoy stories about dysfunctional marriages told as a dark comedy.

Don't see it if You dislike intimate shows with a small cast. At times feels a bit claustrophobic and pacing sometimes is on the slower side.

During previews
Slow, Disappointing, Very slow build, Interesting staging, Great costumes

See it if You want to see a less successful Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf...all the headache but not all the psychological depth.

Don't see it if You don’t want to spend almost two hours listening to this couple argue and fight and just babble bonkers before getting to the point.

During previews
Great acting, Great writing, Profound, Refreshing, Resonant

See it if You want a well written story about a couple that hate each other but are trapped in their relationship.

Don't see it if If you want something that is different then this kind of play, or something that is lite.

During previews
Funny, Farcical, Very well played, Dynamically staged, Deadly accurate

See it if you'd like to experience a version of a modern classic play that mines it for its truths about how ridiculous human conduct can be.

Don't see it if for you Strindberg's original text is too sacred to be tampered with.

Also This is a model adaptation & a very strong production. The team has mi... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if In the Round is so good. A comedy??? C.S.C. has a new door. Great idea for Dance and Julie on same stage Lighting & sound effective ...also

Don't see it if Almost 2 hours. Actors need a bit more performances to perfect emoting in the round.

Also Great use of a phantom piano. C.S.C almost used an idea in my head re:... Read more Read less

During previews
In "dance" strindberg puts a toxic marriage under the microscope & then as in "who's afraid of virginia woolf?" introduces an outsider to explore new alignments of power; searing but somewhat unfocused

See it if unsparing view of co-dependent marriage from hell as type of purgatory; sharp new translation by C McPherson underlines dark absurdist humor

Don't see it if in early preview, action lurches from scene-to-scene, lacks coherent way to present how characters deal w mortality (death dances)

During previews
Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy classics with a modern sensibility. You like dark comedies. You like streamlined, minimalist plays in an intimate setting.

Don't see it if You prefer the traditional, unedited version of Dance of Death. You prefer more contemporary stories. You like shows w/big production values

During previews
Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Great staging, Intense

See it if Love and hate relationship, they are at each other the whole time. Sometime it funny.

Don't see it if A relationship that is serious misfunction.

Also The acting was great. They fought and said things to hurt each.

During previews
Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Hilarious, Great directing

See it if The love/hate continuum acted and directed brilliantly is on display here. It certainly can’t be classed as a comedy but parts are hilarious

Don't see it if Emotions portrayed with equal parts sarcasm and passion are of no interest to you. You don’t like Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” !

During previews
Good performances. good production.

See it if You appreciate a good production of Strindberg.

Don't see it if You don’t like Strindberg.

During previews
Disappointing, Great acting, Quirky, Slow, Dated

See it if You like relationship plays with despicable characters, small casts and styalized melodrama. Interesting staging.

Don't see it if You want anything other than melodrama. I found the story excruciating and banal. Though others seemed to find it very funny.

During previews
Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Great writing

See it if You enjoy good theatre. Lots of twist and turns and fun.

Don't see it if If you don’t enjoy good theatre or using your mind.

February 10th, 2019
"Seems to take place entirely at room temperature...Provides an accessible and assimilable introduction to a complex and uncomfortable world. Cautious theatergoers unacquainted with Strindberg may dip their toes into his work without being blistered...The virtue of such underplaying is that, when...
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February 11th, 2019
"It's a treat that director Victoria Clark...leans into the bleak humor in this depiction of a husband and wife so scarily destructive they make the central couple in 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' seem cozy...Subtle it's not, and at times the performances teeter on the edge of overdone. But if...
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February 11th, 2019
"As Alice and Edgar, the warring couple at the center of 'The Dance of Death,' Beck and Topol don’t hit the same fierce pitch as their young counterparts in 'Mies Julie'...This 'Dance of Death' never fully finds either its horror or its humor. Director Victoria Clark keeps her actors talking quic...
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February 14th, 2019
"The performances are generally good, but Mr. Topol’s Edgar comes off rather like a goofy sitcom character, which can’t be right. Overall, the results don’t quite measure up to Writers Theatre’s 2014 U.S. premiere of Mr. McPherson’s adaptation...If, however, 'The Dance of Death' is new to you, th...
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