Previews start Nov 18

The Dead, 1904

Members say: Great acting, Great staging, Entertaining, Enchanting, Delightful
8 reviews
12 reviews

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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At the party are students, friends, a celebrated tenor, a lost alcoholic, and a couple: Gabriel and Gretta Conroy. Over the course of the evening, there are conversations, music, dancing, and dining. There are speeches and disagreements–polite and impolite–and when it is all over, Gabriel learns something about his wife that changes his sense of who she is and who they are to each other, and what it actually means to be alive–or dead. An audience of 40 guests attends the party alongside the actors, moving from room to room, and dining on a meal inspired by the menu in the novella. 


Cast & Creatives (20)

Reviews (20)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

The New York Times

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." Full Review


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." Full Review

Time Out New York

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." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

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." Full Review

AM New York

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." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

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." Full Review


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." Full Review

Village Voice

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." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

For a previous production
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You like James Joyce, if you like interactive theater and you want to enjoy a meal like the one in the book

Don't see it if You don't like the author, the story interactions with actors, don't want to pay so much for dinner,you don't like shows set in the 1900s

For a previous production
Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you like interactive theatre set in a beautiful townhouse , performed around the audience including dinner in a beautiful dining room.

Don't see it if You are not a fan of James Joyce or don't like theater performed in several locations with you as a part of the show.

For a previous production
Absorbing, Delightful

See it if Nice setting this James Joyce play in a 5th Ave.townhouse with a polished cast Boyd Gaines and Kate Burton among them. Dinner is included.

Don't see it if This theatrical event doesn't come cheap. I was a guest and noticed a sticker price og $300.

For a previous production
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Riveting, Entertaining

See it if You want to be immersed in the characters lives , which takes place in a beautiful mansion on fifth Ave. You wine and dine with the cast.

Don't see it if You can't afford the price of either$300 or $1,000 to wine and dine in a fifth Ave. mansion with a very talented cast.

For a previous production
Enchanting, Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Great staging

See it if This was absolutely stunning! From the moment you walk up the staircase to the party you are transported with drink, great food and talent!

Don't see it if Play is very intimate which can be a bit much if not ready to give yourself to the moment. Everything about this adaptation was perfect!

For a previous production
Enchanting, Exquisite, Great acting, Great staging, Worth the splurge

See it if You want to be absorbed into the lovely and wistful holiday party in Dublin of 1904 which Joyce's novella evokes. Truly special theater!

Don't see it if You don't like immersive theater, or want something with lots of action . This is a thoughtful, almost poetic, story and play. Memorable!

Also The catered meal was delicious - and fit perfectly with the story and ... Read more Read less

For a previous production
Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if Interactive drama. A unique experience in a 5th Ave mansion. Irish history. Excellent caste

Don't see it if Do not appreciate innovative theater.

Also The meal was actually tasty

For a previous production
Poignant, Intelligent, Memorable, Lush, Novel

See it if you want to leave 2016 to live in 1904 for 2 hrs.Life is gentler, but not w/o problems. Great setting, costumes, acting. A memorable night.

Don't see it if you want to make best use of your theater budget. Still, it was a privilege to be in a period piece. Last scene is particularly well done.

Also The dinner was good, but a bit rushed: With prior notice, they accommo... Read more Read less

For a previous production
Absorbing, Delightful, Enchanting, Exquisite, Great acting

See it if You want to live a James Joyce ta

Don't see it if You don’t like James Joyce’s literature.

Also It is in a 19 century house in 5th Avenue. Since you step into the pla... Read more Read less

For a previous production
Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want James Joyce Dinner Theatre in a sumptuous east side mansion and can afford the ticket price.

Don't see it if you hate immersive theatre, love only literal James Joyce and are bored by Irish politics

For a previous production
Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you can afford it. It's a splurge, but worth it for a magical evening of theater in an intimate setting. The final scene is breathtaking.

Don't see it if you don't like/can't do immersive theater that involves a lot of standing and moving around by the audience.

Also Familiarity with the James Joyce short story and/or the John Huston mo... Read more Read less

For a previous production
Absorbing, Clever, Enchanting, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you like quality acting, unique theater experiences, mingling with actors, literary allusions, musical inerludes, historic settings.

Don't see it if you need standard theatrical fare, typical plot lines.