New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

Wide Awake Hearts

From 13 critic and 11 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Clever, Ambitious, Edgy, Exquisite

About the show

BirdLand Theatre and 59E59 Theaters presents an original play about the complexities of human interaction told through wit and humor. More…

Truth and fiction begin to blend and blur when friends make a movie about love, infidelity and the complexities of human interaction. Four friends - a writer, actress, actor, and editor - are pulled through a strange, erotic landscape as the movie they are making opens new doors, new perspectives all while reality and fiction blur.

Theatre Reviews Limited

"Brendan Gall’s superbly crafted and brilliantly written play is about the splendor of good writing and the power of that which we call drama...Under the steady hand of director Stefan Dzeparoski, truth and fiction, reality and fantasy, move into and out of the shadows neatly provided by exquisite lighting design...This is truly one of the best scripts extant with its layered and complex series of subplots. It is often difficult to distinguish between reality and fantasy, truth and fiction." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"'Wide Awake Hearts' is one of the most cleverly written plays I’ve seen in a while, and surprisingly the writer’s focus on being clever turns out to be its one flaw...While this play would have been stronger with more scenes showcasing emotion and character development, it still is a strongly acted, stream-lined production that showcases honest moments of raw emotion laid bare by an immensely talented cast." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"The four cast members give impeccable performances in a play that leaves us wondering whether we can believe a word any of them says...In its ambiguity, the play rests on the kind of edgy and malignant dialogue that such masters of the form as Harold Pinter and Edward Albee excelled at. The blurring of reality and performance is further augmented by lines of dialog that are repeated (multiple 'takes' for the camera) and the anxious underscoring provided by Elliot Davoren's sound design." Full Review


"Under Stefan Dzeparoski’s skillful direction, this brilliant cast delivers a piercing and moving portrayal...While clever and enticing, at times all of the back-and-forth between the acting and their real-life struggles makes it exhausting and difficult to get to the core of each character. The fact that the characters also didn’t have names, adds to that murkiness, but in the end one thing is clear: 'Wide Awake Hearts' will leave you intrigued, pensive and hungry for more." Full Review

American Theater Web

"Gall gives none of the characters names. They are simply A, B, C, and D, and this abstraction distances theatergoers from the action, allowing them instead to concentrate on the blurred layers of the script...In director Stefan Dzeparoski's sparely elegant staging, which benefits enormously from shrewdly conceived projection design that makes the filmic aspects of the piece spring to life with a noir-like sensuality and blazing lighting design, the query lingers and teases the imagination." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"The director makes fine use of limited stage space and the actors carve out the appropriate areas...The projections and the monologues only reveal in part who these individuals are, a clever calculation by the director and playwright...However, the starkest theme in Gall’s work is that our own lives and loves are a film loop that repeats over and over again. And as in the case of these characters, it may be spinning film from which we may never awaken or extract ourselves." Full Review

Let's Talk Off-Broadway

"The dialog is not the strength of this play, although the monologs, and the acting, are fine...The farther the play advances, the less sure we become of what, if anything, is 'reallife' and what is the movie being filmed...For narrative interest, we’re left to puzzle over what’s real life and what’s film making, though no particular insight is brought to this age-old play of ambiguities." Full Review

The New York Times

"A triangle is a sturdy shape, and it holds up well for the first half of this 75-minute play. Then Mr. Gall adds a fourth point to his geometry with the appearance of D, C’s put-upon girlfriend, and the structure loses its stability. This is too bad for a couple of reasons, the first being that Mr. Gall knows his way around a monologue and has supplied several sharply written ones. The cast is strong, too...The effect is a play that feels like a rehearsal for a grim indie movie." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"Stefan Dzeparoski does a helluva job directing untethered writing. All four actors are top notch, embedding themselves in what portion of authenticity characters are allowed. Tension is maintained as players relate to one another with compelling focus. Sexual heat is palpable. Dzeparoski manages to make a stage empty but for chairs (and those annoying screens) almost visually interesting." Full Review


"A skilled cast craftily portrays Gall's clever but wordy tale. The characters themselves are difficult to care for. Apparently Gall wants to keep them at arm's length…The pace of the production is brisk and often witty but the tale reveals little and does not move toward any end point. We never quite know if we are watching the movie or the actual life of the characters...As the worlds of illusion and reality merge, drawing apart and reuniting, fact and fiction obscure into a cloud of frenzy." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"‘Wide Awake Hearts’...expresses both the incandescence and evanescence of love within a structure seeking to blend moviemaking fiction with reality, making you ponder where one ends and the other begins. This is neither a new idea nor one executed here to memorable effect... The fine, well-balanced ensemble is not to blame for the play’s failure to maintain interest. Even though it’s actually a bit shorter than its advertised 90 minutes its juice has dried up half-way through and many will h... Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"'Wide Awake Hearts' is interesting in ideas, but not in execution. Despite its witty punch-lines and curiously 'low-key' set, the play falters in excitement. Any amount of attention the audience could have for these characters’ lives, unfortunately, dwindles into occasional. Though 'Wide Awake Hearts' makes eccentric, cool choices, like adding dark videography, to confuse the audience into what is real and what is not, by the end of the show, you don’t exactly care." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"The Director has ensnared them all in this project apparently to keep an eye on them as they cuckold him. Or maybe it's all a sustained exercise in masochism. It's hard to tell. It's ever harder to care...'Wide Awake Hearts' ends with nothing resolved." Full Review

Absorbing, Cliched, Resonant, Ambitious, Intense

See it if You are in your apartment and up and decide to see a play. Take a chance!

Don't see it if You going solely for the mentioned ,'multi-media' elements.

Good acting, Quick, Good staging

See it if you enjoy pieces about friend groups and want to think about the implications of your actions.

Don't see it if you don't like it when a group of characters aren't the most likable.

Disappointing, Quirky, Slow, Great acting

See it if You are interested in movie making process, enjoy long monologues, and don't mind the lack of plot.

Don't see it if you like conventional theatre.


See it if you like very good acting. Some good dialog.

Don't see it if you want clarity. Reality and fantasy blend too seamlessly making it hard to follow. Easy to get lost.

Absorbing, Enchanting, Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining

See it if You like modern futuristic theatre

Don't see it if See it!

Absorbing, Clever, Edgy, Intense, Intelligent

See it if You like dreamy dialogue. If you are in need of monologues, this show offers 4, one from each character in the show. If you like simple.

Don't see it if You like huge glamorous sets and costumes, or if you like musicals and lengthy dialogue.

During previews
Original, Banal, Disappointing

See it if you're an inside the industry for the theme of the intersection between theater and reality

Don't see it if if you'd like a linear story that actually makes the point its trying to

During previews
Banal, Edgy, Insipid, Great staging

See it if you like long monologues and non-linear narratives/story structure

Don't see it if you like sublime thought-provoking punchlines

During previews
Absorbing, Great staging, Great writing

See it if Intense and intimate reality of your life. It brings you in the middle of the action and keeps you riveted. Minimalist & totally absorbing

Don't see it if You need a linear story and a heavy built set

During previews
Absorbing, Exquisite, Ambitious

See it if If you like modern young multi media clever theatre

Don't see it if If you like sofas and furniture on stage

During previews
Clever, Exquisite, Entertaining, Absorbing, Enchanting

See it if If you ever loved truly

Don't see it if If you don't like great multi media theatre

Cast & Creatives (8)