The Object Lesson
Closed 1h 40m
The Object Lesson

The Object Lesson NYC Reviews and Tickets

(106 Reviews)
Members say
Clever, Quirky, Ambitious, Disappointing, Great staging

About the Show

Actor-illusionist Geoff Sobelle’s immersive theatrical installation turns New York Theatre Workshop into a storage facility of gargantuan proportion, where audiences are free to roam and poke through the clutter.

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Member Reviews (106)

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546 Reviews | 1881 Followers
Absorbing, Refreshing, Indulgent, Slow, Confusing

See it if Moments of sheer brilliance combined with banality and incoherence. Fascinating staging for sure, but I left feeling kind of meh.

Don't see it if You need a comfortable seat. My back killed after an hour. Or if you don't like absurdist experimenta theatre,

754 Reviews | 124 Followers
Ambitious, Cliched, Disappointing, Edgy, Indulgent

See it if you enjoy performance art different from anything you have seen before. The conversion of the theater is astounding. Come early to explore!

Don't see it if you expect a plot instead of unrelated segments. Like opening the boxes it is more anticipation then content. Possible themes are up to you.

630 Reviews | 233 Followers
Clever, Resonant, Ambitious, Dizzying, Thought-provoking

See it if You love interactive theatre, performance art, storytelling, and/or clowning that has deeper meaning.

Don't see it if You prefer to sit in a seat (not on a box) and see a play with a plot. This is inventive storytelling with props and audience participation.

399 Reviews | 203 Followers
Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Indulgent, Overrated

See it if You want to sit on uncomfortable seats in a fire trap while watching someone make insipid comments about crap taken out of boxes.

Don't see it if This was the most self-indulgent piece of garbage I've ever seen. It was trying to persuade us that he had something to say; he didn't. Read more

407 Reviews | 67 Followers
Clever, Delightful, Confusing, Ambitious, Edgy

See it if you enjoy mime, clever use of electronics, illusion and wry comedy

Don't see it if clutter scares you

402 Reviews | 86 Followers
Funny, Thought-provoking, Slow, Artistic

See it if you like contemporary art installations. This is similar to something you might find at the New Museum with an added layer of performance.

Don't see it if you want to see traditional theater with a clear narrative, you get frustrated by bad sight lines depending on where action is happening

291 Reviews | 706 Followers
Ambitious, Banal, Disappointing, Indulgent, Quirky

See it if you're willing to sit through 90 minutes of mediocrity to say that you were in the room for the latest immersive "happening."

Don't see it if you're hoping to learn something new or be emotionally moved. Read more

371 Reviews | 70 Followers
Ambitious, Quirky

See it if non-traditional narrative, space, and experiences are your jam.

Don't see it if TRADITIONAL proscenium theater is your jam.

Critic Reviews (35)

Time Out New York
February 9th, 2017

"The environment installed by Steven Dufala at New York Theatre Workshop for performer Geoff Sobelle and director David Neumann’s astonishing and revelatory 'The Object Lesson' is one epic mausoleum...If you didn’t catch this startlingly original show when it premiered at BAM three years ago, treat yourself to this limited run...It's best seen without advance information...What exactly is the lesson here? We live, we die, we leave garbage behind. But to make art from trash: That’s real magic."
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February 16th, 2017

"Some of the tale-telling involves playful effects, like recording monologue that becomes, in the replay, a dialogue leading to unexpected revelations. Too much of it goes nowhere; the show’s languors outweigh the sharper observations. But then there’s an ending that offers a kind of shocking payoff, as Sobelle executes a variation on the theme of clowns emerging from a tiny car...'Object Lesson' seems overblown even in this modest space. And yet I won’t soon forget those last 15 minutes."
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New York Daily News
February 9th, 2017

"At various times, the production goes slowly, stops dead and, occasionally, motors along. At best it’s a weird, one-of-a-kind work about life’s fruitful and fruitless connections and collections...That’s fertile territory, but the disjointed and fails to make much of a point. It does remind that we have too much stuff and that we form deep-rooted attachments. Still, this 'Lesson' doesn’t have an ending. It needs one."
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February 9th, 2017

"It's like spending 90 minutes with a self-involved friend as he digs through his storage unit...This is certainly a worthwhile story, but Sobelle consistently chooses the most uninteresting ways to tell it. His interactions with the audience feel more labored than charming...Execution often feels like an afterthought in Neumann's production...The only feeling 'The Object Lesson' is able to deliver is confusion chased by a sincere hope that it will end quickly."
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Lighting & Sound America
February 10th, 2017

"In his best moments, Sobelle can hold his own with such New Vaudevillians as Bill Irwin and David Shiner...The overall theme remains utterly elusive: Sobelle appears to be saying something about the millions of objects that fill our lives–but what? Then again, even when 'The Object Lesson' wanders, Sobelle's presence casts a powerful spell...'The Object Lesson' is far from perfect, but, for most of us, it's a fine introduction to an artist who isn't quite like anyone you've ever seen."
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Talkin' Broadway
February 9th, 2017

"Sobelle, an eminently likable everyman type, is the only constant, and though his character comes across as no less confused than you, he has an indomitable spirit that explains why he—and we—should never give up the things that make us most who we are...If the evening's finale were constructed off of this idea, it would be a glimmering little gem...Sadly, that's not where Sobelle goes...Sobelle wraps up 'Object Lesson' by making a big mess of the whole darn, otherwise brilliant, thing."
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February 15th, 2017

"Illusionist/actor Geoff Sobelle's show is a combination of happening, art installation, and a meditation on the role objects have in our lives. Using audience participation, objects both hidden and seen, and magical illusion, Sobelle forces us to examine our relationship to objects and how they ultimately define us...For those willing to go with the flow and give themselves up to Sobelle's droll reflection, self-examination and visual theatrics, the evening is fascinating and rewarding."
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Theater Pizzazz
February 19th, 2017

"For everyone who stores, keeps, won’t let go of, and makes excuses for items that no longer have any redeeming value (nostalgia or otherwise) – this one’s for you!... This immersive, more to the point, big question mark of a production, gives Sobelle a platform as a theater artist and teacher, a place to practice the art of sublime ridiculous in his conquest of seeing the absurd live and grow...Be prepared to witness the most unusual salad making technique ever seen...anywhere!"
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