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The Undertaking

From 17 member  reviews
Members say: Disappointing, Slow, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Quirky

About the show

Following their sold-out run at the 2016 BAM Next Wave Festival, The Civilians' playful and idiosyncratic take on the classical trip to the land of the dead comes to 59E59. More…

Drawing on The Civilians' multi-year exploration and myriad conversations with shamans, morticians, and hospice workers, two actors portray a constellation of quirky characters to dive headlong into the anxieties and mysteries of mortality. This play takes the idea of the recorded interview and pushes it into surprising (and personal) new places.

Member Reviews (17)


Disappointing, Slow, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Quirky
Avg Score

Slow, Resonant, Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you like experimental theater, or are deeply interested in how societies & individuals confront death.

Don't see it if you have little appetite for experiment in the theater, or if looking at death makes you squeamish.

Also As I’ve written before on Show-Score, I’m a fan of experimental theate... Read more Read less

Sleep-inducing, Dull, Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if you want to see some excellent projections designed by Tal Yarden.

Don't see it if you enjoy plays with character development, an arc, and a plot. Don't go if you feel tired—the slow pacing will be sleep inducing.

Interesting concept, Slow, Disappointing, Ambitious, Quirky

See it if you want a play about mortality based on real interviews - embalmer, philosopher, woman with cancer, someone who lost friends to Aids

Don't see it if the two actors act out the roles of the various interviewees with varying degrees of success - more in the very beginning and the rest drags

Also It is telling that in my list of interviews that I listed the embalmer... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Slow

See it if You are a Civilian completist. A new slant on their well researched works, this one is a bit sleepy (or I was) in its investigation of death

Don't see it if You want a play, not a folksy report on views of death, passing over, and whether there is something after.

Disappointing, Great acting, Overrated, Slow

See it if You like workshop style musings on death and dying with some clever stage effects

Don't see it if You want profound insight or a developed story or characters

Clever, Great acting, Slow

See it if You want to see two very good actors handle complex and thought-provoking questions of death and afterlife.

Don't see it if You don't want to see a show that is too long for the amount it has to say.

Great acting, Quirky, Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Insipid

See it if you want to see superb actors who take on more than one role.

Don't see it if you are looking for insights on death. You won't find that in this play.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intense

See it if You like pondering the big questions of death and the hereafter.

Don't see it if You are looking for a plot in the ABC form.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Ambitious, Quirky, Resonant

See it if for a meditation on mortality told through several stories

Don't see it if you are looking for a more profound experience; it just covers the surface

Clever, Quirky, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You like the civilians. If you like theatre told in an unique way. Like supporting 59e59 programming.

Don't see it if Don’t want 90 minutes exploring the topic of death.

Also The actors are excellent in how they moved in and out of other people’... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Slow, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if You’d like to confront your death anxiety and like documentary style or intellectualized plays

Don't see it if You need a story, an emotional connection with the characters and are avoidant of thinking about death

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Quirky

See it if You want to see something unusual and ambitious but ultimately not particularly interesting or well done.

Don't see it if I don’t think anyone should bother seeing this.

Clever, Slow, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if you like shows that look at death and near-death.

Don't see it if you want a lot of action and entertainment. It gets a bit lost in thought at some points.

Ambitious, Indulgent, Great acting, Resonant, Disappointing

See it if You enjoy philosophizing about death, you like seeing actors play multiple characters well.

Don't see it if You are expecting something very deep and thought-provoking

Also I didn’t think the frame for the play was effective. I would have pref... Read more Read less

Cliched, Banal, Disappointing, Indulgent

See it if You like innovative staging and good acting, regardless of content.

Don't see it if you won't spend 2 hours (no intermission) with 2 boring persons and phrases like "existential angst" and "fear of death is fear of life".

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Repetitive, Some off-putting parts near the outset

See it if Great acting and use of voice. Creative use of technology. Thoughtful portions

Don't see it if You are put off by unpleasant descriptions of accidents or embalming; Good ideas repeated more than necessary

Disappointing, Banal, Cliched, Excruciating, Insipid

See it if You're looking to get in out of the rain and your dentist is booked.

Don't see it if You enjoy well-written, well-directed and well-acted plays (though I feel sorry for the actors who signed up for this mess).

January 26th, 2018
"The show is about confronting death, and it is both absorbingly universal and unusually personal. Two versatile actors, Dan Domingues and Aysan Celik, portray several people interviewed for the project...But mostly they play Cosson and his friend Lydia, a Brazilian artist who offers to be his gu...
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January 17th, 2018
"'These interviews are neither diverse nor digested, resulting in a show that feels both thin and unenlightening...Feels more self-involved than bravely personal. The fact that Cosson's fear derives from no immediate health concern only serves to lower the stakes...Thankfully, Cosson includes oth...
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January 19th, 2018
“There's no other show like it. The two-hander explores matters that people must confront in a totally inventive way...Both Domingues and Celik make seamless character transitions that bring fascinating perspectives to the show...’The Undertaking’ presents the subject of mortality in an informati...
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January 18th, 2018
“At best, modestly successful...For rather too much of the time, however, these stimulating folks are preempted by Steve and Lydia and their seemingly endless talk about what it all means to them...Far from a disaster-- the actors are too skillful, the supporting characters too engaging...Still, ...
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