The Dead, 1904
Closed 1h 45m
The Dead, 1904
88

The Dead, 1904 NYC Reviews and Tickets

88%
(57 Reviews)
Positive
98%
Mixed
2%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great staging, Enchanting, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing

About the Show

Irish Rep revives its immersive adaptation of James Joyce’s novella about a holiday gathering in 1904 Dublin, staged in a historic Victorian mansion.

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Member Reviews (57)

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88
Delightful, Entertaining, Immersive, Great staging, Fun

See it if Great immersive play in a beautiful setting. Acting is great and it's an overall great experience. Delicious food! :-)

Don't see it if The story doesn't really have an arc, but several interesting interactions that keep us entertained throughout.

80
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Immersive, Delightful

See it if You enjoy immersive shows. The setting really enhances the experience. Great performances and costumes. Production is perfectly executed.

Don't see it if It's a nice story but it's not the most exciting or dramatic. Go for the experience not necessarily the story.

Critic Reviews (18)

Theatermania
November 29th, 2018

“It’s holiday-party setting gives ‘The Dead’ the cozy familiarity of turkey and mashed potatoes served with a heaping spoonful of agita...This is its third incarnation...Gilbert reprises her role as Gretta...Joyce's story was adapted for the big screen by John Huston in a 1987 film version and for the Broadway stage in a 2000 musical, but neither could ever make us a part of the story the way Irish Rep's intimate, immersive production does...The evening passes like a waking dream.”
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New York Stage Review
November 29th, 2018

"Ciarán O’Reilly, the director, stages these happenings with an easy flow...The actors mostly provide natural performances...The exquisite detail and insightful characterizations embodied by Leon Dobkowski’s period costumes enhance the company’s fine portrayals...Although 'The Dead, 1904' cannot completely plumb and express the emotional richness of Joyce’s story, its subtle humor and much of its poignant mood shines through."
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N
December 10th, 2018

“An immersive take on Joyce’s short story...The story is a meandering, genteel narrative...’The Dead, 1904’ suddenly hits us with emotional weight and sobriety...The final scene is a beautiful melancholy scene that left me wanting to learn more...Whilst the play feels relatively slow...the text feels like it flies by at lightning pace...’The Dead, 1904’ is more than dinner theater, and although it did not live up to my own expectations, I could not help but be charmed by the piece.”
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The New York Times
December 8th, 2016
For a previous production

"The performers inhabit their roles with vivacity, seemingly unaware of the audience members whose eyes are trained on them...But when the adapters translate Gabriel’s turbulent sensations into a long monologue, the spell of closely observed naturalism is inevitably broken...Ultimately 'The Dead, 1904' is more memorable as a festive party than as a heart-searing tale of the elusiveness of love, and the sadness — but also the beauty — inherent in the transitory nature of life."
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Time Out New York
December 8th, 2016
For a previous production

"Neither the writing nor the ensemble acting does much to fill in the spaces of Joyce’s spare descriptions...It is good fun for a while...But more often, the dialogue seems forced; the audience is not integrated into the action, but merely watches it at uncomfortably close range...'The Dead, 1904' fares best at its conclusion, when it abandons the conceit of our presence at the party...In this openly theatrical and literary scene, the story comes briefly to life."
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The Hollywood Reporter
December 9th, 2016
For a previous production

"A skillfully staged, immersive adaptation...The show is transporting, thanks in large part to its elegant setting...It’s a subtle but haunting tale, and the immersive adaptation draws us into it skillfully. We have to jostle for optimum position in the small rooms and risk losing some intimate moments. But the dinner scene, in which we dine with the characters, is beautifully handled, and when we sit in the Conroys’ bedroom during their emotional exchange, the effect is nearly voyeuristic."
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AM New York
December 8th, 2016
For a previous production

"'The Dead' is ideally suited for the immersive theater treatment since it brings to life a boisterous holiday party, full of dancing, drinking, singing, toasting and eating. The production (directed with an eye for detail by Ciaran O’Reilly) manages to combine the fun and spontaneity of immersive theater with tender and nuanced acting from an accomplished cast. The dialogue is lifted directly from the original text...Even with dinner and drinks included, the ticket price is absurdly expensive."
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Theatermania
December 8th, 2016
For a previous production

"Through a series of choreographed moments (some more subtle than others), director Ciarán O'Reilly gives us the feeling of being invited to a family dinner during which a few skeletons escape the closet...While it doesn't feel as effortless as other immersive attractions, it gets the job done...'The Dead, 1904' is full of finely crafted moments, as well as many more that have a blunter quality. It's not a perfect immersive production, but one has to admire Irish Rep for taking the risk."
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Theatermania
November 30th, 2017
For a previous production

"A welcome and decidedly grown-up addition to the holiday season's usual roster of theatrical fare. Ciarán O'Reilly once again directs a superb cast...Paul Muldoon and Jean Hanff Korelitz's adaptation captures the deceptively plotless narrative of Joyce's story...'The Dead, 1904' gives the uncanny sense of entering a beautifully wrought literary world that conjures the misty mood of the holiday season as present joys mingle gently with wistful memories of the past."
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Talkin' Broadway
December 9th, 2016
For a previous production

"The resulting magic is enough to more than cancel out any dramaturgical mediocrity...The thinness of the plot is unavoidable...I felt, as it's seldom possible to do, as though I really was a part of the play—in no small part because I actually was...It's easy, perhaps necessary, to forgive 'The Dead, 1904' a lot, even if you don't want to...'The Dead, 1904' is in no way a terrific play—it is, nonetheless, theatre at its most absorbing."
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Stage Buddy
December 11th, 2017
For a previous production

“It's as if you've stepped back in time to a lavish turn-of-the-century Christmas party. That, and the chance to inhabit Joyce's rich world, are the two best aspects of ‘The Dead, 1904’...Though Melissa Gilbert's Gretta feels a bit high-strung, her loud emotion is the perfect counterpart to Collins' understated Gabriel...When we reach that final line which is possibly one of the most perfect endings ever written - there is a quiet sense of wonder not unlike the spell cast by Joyce's final line."
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C
November 30th, 2017
For a previous production

"Unusual and slightly subdued evening. Still, this may be a party, but it ain’t no disco!...As is true of a lot of dinner parties, then and now, there’s a splash of drama, some barely-contained tensions, and a fair amount of banality...Still and all, it seems like we’ll leave pleasantly full and glad that nothing eventful actually happened...If 'The Dead, 1904' accomplishes its goals, we leave the house as different people than when we entered, which may be more than some people bargained for."
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NorthJersey.com
December 9th, 2016
For a previous production

"It’s all kind of fun, though perhaps not the best way, until the very end, of experiencing Joyce’s story. The production is faithful to him, but what’s missing is the author’s voice. Without a narrative guide, things are loose and disconnected...At dinner, for example, rather than straining to hear the characters’ low conversation, you end up chatting with the person seated next to you...The actors also sometimes distractingly break character as they interact with the audience."
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Epoch Times
December 2nd, 2017
For a previous production

“This site-specific and completely immersive production offers a poignant look at the emptiness of seemingly contented people...O’Reilly handles the material perfectly, letting events and moments slowly build until each of the characters becomes achingly real and alive. There is not a hint of the drabness that sometimes accompanies a period piece...A walk down a shadowed memory lane wrapped in the brightness of a holiday celebration, “The Dead, 1904” makes for a truly unforgettable experience."
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I
November 27th, 2017
For a previous production

“An immersive experience of the most genteel variety...Lovingly and smoothly staged...The adaptation is an intimate experience that gently and richly engages all the senses...Music also plays a central role in the production, eliciting not only good cheer, but also buried emotions to rise from their graves. As with the novella, the evening ends on a note of bittersweet melancholy that’s haunting...The current cast is just wonderful.”
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Irish Central
December 4th, 2017
For a previous production

"It can only be hoped that this extraordinary experience becomes an annual production...There is a palpable sense of occasion, and that welcoming holiday atmosphere feels entirely right...We watch a proud but overlooked city and the people who dwell in it recall older, usually better times. But all night there is an under music of lament that rises and rises as the night progresses and that this production (directed by Ciaran O'Reilly) handles masterfully."
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Village Voice
December 13th, 2016
For a previous production

"It's a delicate, graceful plot that cries out for no less delicate and graceful a staging, and for the most part, Muldoon and Korelitz's elegant script succeeds. But the immersive elements are often distracting...The play's strongest scene, tellingly, is its most traditional...Here, without its experimental trappings, 'The Dead, 1904' is nothing more, and nothing less, than a wrenching look into what goes unsaid in a marriage. That's why the story shines, and where the play shines, too."
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M
November 30th, 2017
For a previous production

"The lively dinner party that has taken over the American Irish Historical Society is done no favors by its title: 'The Dead 1904'...The lack of plot is, in a rare treat, not detrimental to the experience...Instead of allowing existential dread to merely haunt its celebration, 'The Dead 1904' confronts it in a night that is a feast for the mind and belly, as the best gatherings are. It is a reminder to live well — otherwise, we’re just dying slowly."
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