New York | 1h 20m | Already closed

In the Secret Sea

From 6 critic and 54 member reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Intense, Disappointing, Absorbing, Banal

About the show

Tony nominated director, Martin ('Annie') Charnin, helms this New York premiere about a newly married couple facing a life-changing decision. More…

In this new American play by Cate Ryan, a young couple are confronted with a gut-wrenching decision, one that will impact their parents, their consciences, and the rest of their lives.

Stage Buddy

"The title of Cate Ryan’s brilliant and captivating script comes from the idea that a woman’s womb is like a secret sea, and this interplays masterfully with the concepts and moral issues that are raised...The stand-out performance of the evening was provided by the father-to-be, played confidently by Adam Petherbridge...At times shocking, but always engaging, 'In the Secret Sea' will leave you mulling its thought-provoking questions long after the last curtain call." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Cate Ryan has found a meaningfully engaging subject; her flawed but well-meaning characters and situations will move many theatregoers. You can argue with the clumsy infusions of personal tragedies each of the couples calls upon to justify their positions, or with the play’s egregiously sentimental epilogue, with its quote from Yeats's "The Stolen Child," but the core issue—for all the superficiality of its treatment—is affecting enough to keep you in your seat for the play's 80 minutes." Full Review


"Under Martin Charnin's pacey direction...The actors do their best to downplay the sense that we are watching a debate about marriage, parenthood and the bad deck of cards we're sometimes dealt...Ms. Ryan doesn't dish up a facile happy ending and the finale she has devised is eloquently heart-felt. She's also written some good dialogue. However, the top heavy plot with its too convenient details left me wondering if 'In the Secret Sea' wouldn't work better as a documentary." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"More tolerance experiment than a traditional play, it asks that you confront your own beliefs and prejudices about when life begins and ends, and what it means in the interim...If it never completely succeeds, it's an admirable effort, and one of the most fearlessly serious and human plays I've ever seen. Its refusal to rely on tricks and tropes is refreshing, as is its eschewing the easy answers and tidy conclusions...I was not, however, moved in any way but intellectually, remotely. " Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"Ryan has done her research, and the technical sections of the play ring with a fair amount of seeming accuracy. It is in the relationships among the five characters who populate her story that she falls short...It’s only the very real pain felt by Kenny, which young Adam Petherbridge conveys most movingly, that piques our interest...A noble attempt to dramatize a difficult subject, but there is no majesty in the telling, and it left me informed, but unmoved." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“A tired rehash of the obvious talking points, served up with a minimum of nuance...A rare dramatic staging by Martin Charnin...and he handles this awkward script awkwardly. His cast clearly needs help...At least ‘Secret Sea’ has a polished design...But this is an especially dreary evening that tips its hand far too early yet still allows its characters to express their clichés at length. If you've ever wondered what ninety minutes of hand-wringing might be like, this is the show for you.” Full Review

Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see good actors tackle a tough secret

Don't see it if you like to avoid tough subjects

Absorbing, Delightful

See it if This show is interesting, family life, past secrets, and ever day issues. Very enjoyable, great acting.

Don't see it if You dont like a play about everyday issues

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Profound, Intense

See it if Like to watch matters of family and relationships

Don't see it if Want to see a musical

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you're a fan of Ibsen whose influence is all over the play. Production elements are top-notch and the theater venue is perfect for the play.

Don't see it if much like one of the characters in the play, you are a staunch conservative whose sensibilities are easily offended.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if Very engrossing and thought provoking shows.

Don't see it if If you don't like shows about serious subjects

Absorbing, Disturbing, Intense

See it if You like unusual family dramas about difficult times.

Don't see it if You like happy stories.

Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You enjoy stories that are deep and talk about controversial topics.

Don't see it if You do not enjoy controversial topics.

Intelligent, Relevant, Intense, Thought-provoking, Emotional

See it if You enjoy thought provoking, emotional theater.

Don't see it if You're looking to be up lifted and have a cheery time.

Absorbing, Great writing, Original, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You like contemporary drama with relevant themes and believable characters. You can"t stay uninvolved as soon as the theme is revealed !

Don't see it if You can't deal with realistic dramas about heart wrenching subjects. This is not light theatrical fare.

Absorbing, Great acting, Depresssing

See it if Enjoy an impeccably acted drama.

Don't see it if You're looking for a fun night at the theater.

Delightful, Entertaining, Great writing

See it if Two married couples have deal with their fate. Its sad, funny and engaging at times. Well written.

Don't see it if Human sadness

Intense, Thought-provoking, A bit scattered, Original, Tragic

See it if you enjoy dramas. It's a serious topic, even if it doesn't go in the direction you think it was going. It mostly works, but it's confused.

Don't see it if You're looking fluff, or a more logical narrative. There're tangents that needed to be more realized. The second couple was better written.

Thought-provoking, Intense, Funny, Slow

See it if Interested in dramas focused on human relationships and what it is to love and be loved.

Don't see it if You don't like watching PDA with older actors.

Thought-provoking, Strong performances, Unrealistic, Slow

See it if you enjoy straight theater by seasoned performers on a lovely set that you'd like to live in. No easy answers here.

Don't see it if you have a strong opinion about abortion that you want validated. No real solutions are presented & the plot and characters feel artificial.

Thought-provoking, Great staging, Relevant

See it if You understand Catholicism, holiday traditions Like dramas about difficult decisions, controversial topics, family drama. Like great acting!

Don't see it if You expect edgy, modern characters who keep you on the brink of discovery. Expect an exciting new perspective on a current topic.

Entertaining, Disappointing, Banal

See it if An interesting family drama

Don't see it if You want to see something unusual

Interesting characters, Good acting, Good conflict, Absorbing, Relevant

See it if like family drama.

Don't see it if you're looking for something light.

Intelligent, Profound, Thought-provoking, Intense, Great acting

See it if You want to think about some deep question and hard subjects. The actress playing Joyce is fantastic and this show will hit some tough spots

Don't see it if You want a more comedic or light show. This is a pretty serious production overall. It does have its flaws and some actors are a little weak


See it if Starts a serious conversation. Really questions your beliefs

Don't see it if Without giving anything away don't see if you live by the "old school mentality"

Disappointing, Insipid, Slow

See it if you like small dramas with GREAT sets

Don't see it if you are annoyed by overwriting. Dialogue was contrived. I don't know people who talk that way in front of others.

Ambitious, Relevant, Banal, Thought-provoking

See it if You want a serious drama about a heavy topic. Though it wasn't the best play, it does make you think about how you'd react in that situation

Don't see it if You're easily depressed, don't like talk-heavy plays or are narrow-minded. This play did not blow me away at all, but the actors were decent

Cliched, Thought-provoking, Great concept, poor execution

See it if you like WASPY living room drama ...IE AR Gurney..

Don't see it if You want engaging dialogue and plot.

Cliched, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy drama. Show was tight, but often predictable & bit repetitive. Ending excellent. Plot a bit reminiscent of Twilight of the Golds.

Don't see it if you are looking for light, enjoyable show.

Conversation-provoking, Intelligent, Absorbing, Timely, Relevant

See it if You're ok with a quiet somewhat clichéd if well meaning serious drama designed to begin conversation; or have conservative friends to bring.

Don't see it if You're looking for a light-hearted evening, a detailed intellectual discussion or have unshakable conservative views of social issues.

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intense

See it if you enjoy shows that present ethical dilemmas/ heart-wrenching decisions.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy a lot of family drama and discussion about a difficult family issue. Not a light night at the theater.

Cast & Creatives (11)