The Undertaking
Closed 1h 30m
The Undertaking

The Undertaking NYC Reviews and Tickets

(17 Ratings)
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.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (17)

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286 Reviews | 23 Followers
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.

106 Reviews | 75 Followers
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. Read more

683 Reviews | 161 Followers
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. Read more

139 Reviews | 19 Followers
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

165 Reviews | 34 Followers
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.

140 Reviews | 33 Followers
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

393 Reviews | 93 Followers
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.

270 Reviews | 58 Followers
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.

Critic Reviews (19)

Time Out New York
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 guide into the underworld...Cosson braves looking confused and even faintly ridiculous. But that, the play suggests, is the price of engagement. The fog on the mirror is a sign of life."
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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 other voices in the show...Their stories and observations give the piece some much-needed outside perspective, but the interviews feel less contextualized than they could be."
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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 informative and even entertaining manner. It takes a topic that people are often hesitant to deal with and makes it entirely approachable. This is a show that should be experienced.”
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Lighting & Sound America
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, it drags...Next to the company's better efforts, 'The Undertaking' comes off as a rather thin exercise diluted by excessive navel-gazing."
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Talkin' Broadway
January 17th, 2018

“Domingues and Celik are both fine actors...But the work overall is too trapped in the real Steve Cosson's vision...The play would be better served by expanding on the use of the interviews to more deeply examine the complex issues surrounding death and dying, or by digging more into the psychological profile of the character of Steve. As it stands, both components are frustratingly underdeveloped...The production lacks a much-needed cohesiveness and unnecessarily obscures its subject matter."
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January 17th, 2018

“Dull, smug and interminable...80-minute hodgepodge...Physical staging ranges from sedate to overdrive, with the actors incited to be manic. The ending, however, does have an affirmative simplicity...A slew of quirky snippets lacking depth and focus. These combined with the busy presentation all make for a slog...If it were performed at a museum, ‘The Undertaking’ would be the sort of thing one could inquisitively watch for a while and then leave to look at something else.”
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January 18th, 2018

"A mere 80 minutes in duration, with well-paced dialogue between the principal characters and arresting interpolations from the playwright's field research. But the enterprise goes off the rails in its final third. he playwright's attempt to explore the nature of death is defeated by the fact that, as Marvell says, the grave's a fine and private place, inaccessible to the living...The final segment of the play begins as a charming conceit but quickly runs out of steam.”
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Theatre is Easy
January 18th, 2018

"Jordan: It’s amazing how funny and light this play can be sometimes...Ran: Steve and Lydia have a very endearing way of talking about death, suffering, and fear...Jordan: These are two really strong performances...Ran: One of the most effective multimedia uses I’ve seen in a while...Ran: I was skeptical because the show tackles the subject, death, in a very intellectual way...Jordan: The intellectual elements are often quite satisfying though."
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