Wakey, Wakey
Closed 1h 15m
Wakey, Wakey
70

Wakey, Wakey NYC Reviews and Tickets

70%
(130 Reviews)
Positive
65%
Mixed
20%
Negative
15%
Members say
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow, Disappointing, Absorbing

About the Show

Signature Theatre presents a thought-provoking new play about some of life's biggest questions, written and directed by Obie winner Will Eno ('The Realistic Jones'). Starring Emmy winner Michael Emerson ('Lost').

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Member Reviews (130)

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85
Great acting, Profound, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if Eno's existential 'stand-up' about the end of a man's life Michael Emerson quite extraordinary as Guy with a moving LeVoy as the 'caretaker'

Don't see it if Eno is an 'acquired taste' Piece can be a bit slow & too quirky for some & Eno's choices as director a bit too twee but often very moving

80
Clever, Edgy

See it if January LaVoy a great talent is wasted in a 15 minute role, The Meaning of Life seems to be overdone. A diifernet approach here.

Don't see it if Not sure if I would say :See It' but I was impressed gy the short performance og Ms. La Voy

Critic Reviews (35)

The New York Times
February 27th, 2017

"Dying is a stand-up routine in 'Wakey, Wakey,' the glowingly dark, profoundly moving new play by Will Eno. Portrayed with a master’s blend of pretty much every emotion there is by Michael Emerson, the monologuist at the center of this short, resonant tragicomedy is the M.C. of his own demise...The astonishment of Mr. Emerson’s performance is how universal and particular it is, saying that, yes, we all die, but we all die as individuals."
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Time Out New York
February 28th, 2017

“A quietly beautiful piece…Eno knows that there are only so many ways of saying, ‘You will die; celebrate life,’ so he makes a spectacle of vamping and false starts, awkward yet deeply felt pauses, as the keen, funny, transfixing Emerson reads from index cards, gets his slides confused and bathes the audience in his gentle, beatific fussiness...You know how great actors have the ability to age decades right before your eyes? That happens here, and it's a pure astonishment.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
February 27th, 2017

"A rambling monologue of no apparent consequence...But then, halfway through, the tone flips...I felt my hostility toward the first half of 'Wakey, Wakey,' with all its dull cuteness, beginning to melt, and I wondered if this was part of the play’s design...Partly that’s because January LaVoy is so radiantly warm onstage...As Guy, Michael Emerson, though technically excellent, cannot get so far with his character, or not at any rate with Eno fussing over him as director."
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The Hollywood Reporter
February 27th, 2017

"The hook that reels us into this abstruse, tricky, stream-of-consciousness contemplation of mortality is a beautiful performance from Michael Emerson...While the thematic richness of 'Wakey, Wakey' creeps up on you during its brief 75-minute run time, few will make the claim that this is a major addition to Eno's distinctive body of work...Nevertheless, Eno's unique voice — quizzical, perceptive, assertively compassionate — is one to be celebrated."
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Variety
February 27th, 2017

"A work of humor, humanity and grace that makes you want to hug your lover, your neighbor and maybe an usher on the way out. It also offers a captivating, playful and deeply moving performance by Michael Emerson...Eno breaks the fourth wall but here he also suggests a wondrous fifth: a world beyond the memories of the past and the realities of the present and towards the inevitable adjustment nature demands. It’s a loving transition, theatrically told in a style that is Eno’s own."
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Deadline
February 28th, 2017

"'Wakey, Wakey' struck me as indebted equally to two Irishmen, Samuel Beckett and James Joyce...His subjects are death, existence and the meaning of life. This near monologue is delivered with exquisite, deliberate conviction by Michael Emerson in a voice at once quizzical and confessional, an irresistible combination. Big ones, these questions, though delivered with a kind of innocence Beckett mostly abjured but that Joyce could take delight in."
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New York Daily News
March 1st, 2017

“Death becomes Will Eno, writer and director of this odd but gently urgent play…Played by Michael Emerson with a magnetic open-hearted humor, we stay connected even when the going gets curious. And it does...Guy takes stock and shares a little advice. 'Take care of each other,' he says. Playing an aide, January LaVoy arrives late to do that. We should be so lucky as to have someone who radiates as much warmth as this actress does when time’s up."
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Theatermania
February 27th, 2017

"His thoughts seem to wander every which way...but when you take a closer look, they're as focused as a laser beam...Even after Lisa enters the picture, Eno's dialogue remains stilted and aloof. It serves the play's purposes—and could not be given a more naturalistic performance than the one Emerson is delivering. But if you require peaks and valleys of drama to keep you engaged in a story, you may get sleepy within 'Wakey, Wakey's' microscopic modulations and extended silences."
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BroadwayWorld
February 28th, 2017

“Emerson makes for appealing company and Eno's meandering text has its cute and funny moments. Checking out some Guy's childhood photos and hearing his thoughts about a distant siren are actually more amusing than they sound. But there's also a redundant meta quality that gets tiresome.”
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Lighting & Sound America
March 3rd, 2017

"Eno's most accomplished and affecting piece to date...As long as Emerson and LaVoy hold the stage, a mood of deep, possibly profound feeling pervades the auditorium. But the playwright is either too hobbled by irony or too afraid of the darkness not to spike the action with overly cute bits of business...Eno's world continues to seem like Existentialism Lite. Emerson is the real thing, however; the look in his eyes as he fades away says more than the play's complete text."
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Talkin' Broadway
February 27th, 2017

“Michael Emerson plows his way through the typical litany of interchangeable Eno bits…It's as fine and thoughtful a portrayal as Guy could receive. The shtick gets tiresome quickly, though. Not because it's not funny, but because it ignores the reality of this specific world…Around its edges, however, ‘Wakey, Wakey’ evinces more discipline than Eno has displayed in years. It's overlain with a resigned sadness about aging and decaying.”
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TheaterScene.net
March 14th, 2017

"'Wakey, Wakey' is Will Eno at his surreal, troubling, beautiful best, a play both challenging and easily absorbed. He truly approaches the unapproachable: the meaning of life."
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Theatre is Easy
March 1st, 2017

“An experience that is intimate, moving, and surprisingly entertaining...Emerson’s portrayal of the dying man has a weighted serenity…Death is imminent in this oddly funny play…It is simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking as the pleasant party host's final moment comes…Eno's direction of his own script is tender, precise, and robust at all the right moments...It has the potential to be the most moving experience one could have in a theatre."
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Theater Pizzazz
February 28th, 2017

“A mysterious and ultimately deeply moving play…It features an actor delivering a mesmerizing monologue that plays with your mind and ultimately with your heart...A play about death that ultimately celebrates life in both a profound and light-hearted way (I won’t spoil the joyous, revelatory last few moments)."
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CurtainUp
February 27th, 2017

"Never morbid, it is surprisingly illuminating and insightful, even revelatory...Sensitively directed by the playwright...I suspect those who are familiar with Eno's plays will find that 'Wakey, Wakey' is his most easily embraced and most deliberately accessible...The press release has this hopeful line: '..there's a chance this will be a really good experience.' It was...and more."
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Front Row Center
February 28th, 2017

"Emerson does not disappoint. Would that the material itself held up as well...Eno goes deep, not wide...Guy meanders through his thoughts with precision if not clarity...For me the question is–to what destination?...Eno writes with sly winks and nods and intellectual forays thither and yon. It can be a pleasure to listen to, especially in the hands of Emerson...In the end, however, there is not enough 'there' there on which you can hang your hat."
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Stage Buddy
March 7th, 2017

“Eno and Emerson achieve a stunning feat, compelling an audience of strangers to deeply mourn the loss of a man who is not only a stranger but a fiction…Perhaps this is in part because Eno’s clever script, paired with Emerson’s oh-so-human performance, entwines the intimate and the universal…‘Wakey, Wakey’ is a truly great play, one that reasserts the unique power of theatre...You'll want to recapture the heart-bursting, life-affirming feeling again and again."
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Front Mezz Junkies
February 27th, 2017

"Even though I patiently waited, hoping to get some insight as to why we were gathered here, it never came to me...Eno has said of his work that one shouldn’t come to his plays expecting tidy resolutions, clearly drawn narrative arcs or characters. And if that is his purpose here, he has succeeded...If there is pleasure to be had from 'Wakey Wakey,' it may be in the game of guessing what that was all about. For this theatre junkie, 'Wakey Wakey' put me to sleep."
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Exeunt Magazine
March 2nd, 2017

"Eno has never shied away from the existential or phenomenological. His greatest skill may well be his ability to dramatize them...Emerson's wide eyes and wry tone are a natural match for Eno’s crisp, energetic language, oscillating between calm certainty and sad resignation...Eno's strategy is usually to evoke one emotion and then its opposite, to jostle us from one end of the spectrum to another until we can’t tell them apart...I believe 'Wakey, Wakey' strikes that perfect calibration."
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New York Theater
March 3rd, 2017

"I did like it better than anything else I’ve seen by Eno...With gentle humor and a lack of fussiness, Michael Emerson manages to woo us through the deliberate vagueness, starts and stops, and meta interruptions of his monologue...Much of what Eno’s script is trying to induce about the celebration and uncertainty of life and death has been done better and with more clarity elsewhere...But Eno the playwright is well served in 'Wakey Wakey' by Eno the director, and by Emerson and LaVoy."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
February 28th, 2017

"The highly lauded Eno...has a gift for unusual situations and quirkily delightful dialogue, and he knows how to get laughs with verbal surprises, but in 'Wakey, Wakey,' he offers little new or revelatory about the human condition. And, while conflict is a standard ingredient in most plays, you won't find much of it here...Its acting and production elements score highly, but while some visitors will certainly be touched others are likely to find 'Wakey, Wakey' too wishy-washy for their tastes."
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Times Square Chronicles
March 23rd, 2017

“‘Wakey, Wakey’ is about death, life and the things in between and in all honesty we’ve heard it all before...Basically the whole plot is to enjoy the little things in life. Emerson is wonderful in the role, but the play is monotonous…Will Eno also directed this and he does his play an injustice. Maybe another director could have added life into this piece instead of oblivion.”
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B
March 2nd, 2017

"The only possible reason to catch it is the all-too-rare opportunity to see Michael Emerson back on stage. No one does misery better than Emerson, and he certainly has cause to be miserable here...To me, the final moments came across as a desperate attempt by the playwright-director to distract the audience from the inadequacy of all that preceded it. I posit that under the pressure of owing Signature a new play, this was the best that Eno could throw together."
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The Wrap
February 27th, 2017

"Emerson’s remarkably spontaneous performance suggests Pee-Wee Herman after a stroke, as if he’s making up the words on the spot. What better impression can an actor give us? What’s great for an actor, however, is not so wonderful for a playwright...Writing about death should not create this much dead air in the theater...Even with a running time of 75 minutes, 'Wakey, Wakey' inspires wristwatch-checking in the dark like few other plays you will see this year."
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
March 3rd, 2017

"Eno’s effective but terribly sad play...Emerson’s performance is remarkable. What he does will leave you deeply moved. As the end approaches his face is wracked with a combination of pain, bewilderment and fatalism, all fused to poignant dramatic effect. The author, who also is the director, energizes the play with projections...'Wakey, Wakey' is highly sensitive theater that may touch raw nerves...On the other hand, it can also provide a note of courage and understanding."
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Broadway & Me
March 11th, 2017

“Michael Emerson does a fine job conveying the mixture of apprehension, bewilderment and remorse Guy is experiencing. Bill,and many others in our audience were totally moved by his textured performance. But the moments dragged for me and confirmed my suspicion that (after having seen five of his plays) I'm just not an Eno gal.”
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Daily Beast
February 27th, 2017

"If that sounds tricky to watch and baffling, it is—and yet you hang on every word...Eno by not making the story or Guy easy to comprehend makes it that much more engrossing. Sometimes, just when it feels too slight, Eno inserts a piece of mischievous whimsy, or sharp observation, or, at one point, the sudden, mournful strains of 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head'...An unexpectedly uplifting play."
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NorthJersey.com
February 27th, 2017

"'Wakey, Wakey' isn’t really a play. It’s an accounting of the things that matter in life...Presented with quiet authority and a soft, ironic humor by the remarkable Michael Emerson, observations that might otherwise seem random, and sentimental, coalesce into a painful but brave last embrace of ordinary pleasures...The evening gains additional poignancy if you see it as Eno’s tribute to James Houghton, the founder and artistic director of the Signature Theatre."
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City Cabaret
March 15th, 2017

"Will Eno's elegant and gently sad 75-minute play...Although Guy's stream-of-consciousness monologue comes in a disjointed start-and-stop way, it is surprisingly illuminating...Production values are stellar...Emerson is remarkable as Guy, a likable and reflective man whose nuanced facial expressions reflect amusement as well as the stings of discomfort, pain, thirst...We leave the theater touched by the spirit of Guy and his words."
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Village Voice
March 7th, 2017

“Eno knows that his approach, resolutely shirking conventional expectations, will infuriate some theatergoers. His previous works in this gnomic vein (‘Thom Pain,’ ‘Title and Deed’) left me uninfuriated but also unenthusiastic. But ‘Wakey Wakey's’ sharp writing, heightened by the easygoing asperity of Emerson's performance, stirs deeper feelings. Granted, the truth it conveys is small, rarefied, and overly hedged with decorative distractions. Even so, it's genuine."
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Show Showdown
February 27th, 2017

"Eno's meditation on life and the end of it, is gently, beautifully performed by a cast of two...While in no way a chore, the show itself nevertheless feels a bit half-baked...As a quiet reverie about the final moments in a quiet life, 'Wakey, Wakey' gets the message across, elicits a chuckle or two, and occasionally brushes at the heartstrings. But it never quite blooms into something much bigger than the sum of its parts."
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Edge New York
February 27th, 2017

"It all can amount to too much in the end, however. Even with the talents of Emerson and Lavoy to guide the production, the play still struggles in its tonal shifts, overreaching in its attempts to bridge its moments of cynicism and fear with its tender moments of redemption. Eno undoubtedly loves to show his hand in this play, but sometimes it is that very hand that obstructs our view...But all that isn't to say that 'Wakey, Wakey' doesn't have its moments; in fact, it has plenty."
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On Stage Blog
February 27th, 2017

"Emerson doesn't disappoint. He's perfectly suited for Eno's perfectly 'normal' dialogue contained in what appears to be a well-made play but actually makes you question the whole form and shape of a theatrical experience altogether...This play was simply a rich, beautiful experience filled with thoughtfulness and mystery...Here are five solid reasons why you should see 'Wakey, Wakey:' 1) Will Eno 2) Life 3) Death 4) Gratitude 5) It sticks to your ribs."
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T
March 10th, 2017

“Though it may seem to be a mediation on death, ‘Wakey, Wakey’ is really a celebration of life...Without being maudlin, or resorting to clichés and affirmations, Guy involves us in his compelling contemplation of mortality. Emerson’s casual, beautifully paced performance, as well as Eno’s sharp writing, make for a hypnotic duo. The ending is a spectacle that leaves the audience with a huge collective grin.”
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Paste Magazine
March 2nd, 2017

"The production itself is excellent. Emerson commands the play’s short running time without really physically moving at all...But Eno (directing his own work for the first time) is the star of 'Wakey Wakey,; and he’s at his most achingly, triumphantly humanist here...Eno has, in this wonderful, wonderful play, actually struck on something resembling a satisfying answer to death, buried somewhere in the knowledge that we live a million rebirths in even the smallest of gifts we leave behind."
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