Already closed | 1h 20m | Midtown W

Phalaris's Bull: Solving the Riddle of the Great Big World

From 5 member  reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Must see, Absorbing, Delightful, Enchanting

About the show

Great Big World LLC presents a one-of-a kind theatrical event – neither play nor lecture – staged to reflect Steven Friedman’s prismatic and eclectic vision of the world. More…

Harvard-educated, molecular biologist, visual artist, and provocative underground philosopher, Steven Friedman has the answers to life’s big questions. This play uses personal narrative, poetry, art and science to tell the story of a contemporary philosopher's quest to fulfill Einstein's ambition 'to solve the riddle of the great, big world.' Friedman offers a solution to the world’s pain – a philosophy based on Kierkegaard’s story in which an ancient torture device, Phalaris’s Bull, turned the terrible sounds of pain into music. To create is to enter Phalaris’s Bull, and our pain becomes beauty.

Member Reviews (5)


Entertaining, Must see, Absorbing, Delightful, Enchanting
Avg Score

Performance so egotistical it borders on self-satire

See it if you enjoy an interesting set and hearing an interesting life story narrated by a single person

Don't see it if you don't like narrator spouting mindless aphorisms wrapped up in philosophical language or self-promoting story that is actually sad

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if You want to see an amazing show with enchanting, beautiful music.

Don't see it if You are crazy & don't like musicals.

Cliched, Dated, Insipid, Excruciating, Slow

See it if you don't value your own time

Don't see it if you want to avoid another trite, condescending and contrived self-important white guy who thinks his little world reflects the rest us.

Enchanting, Must see, Epic

See it if You love music, suspense, mystery, romance

Don't see it if There is no reason not to see it

Delightful, Absorbing, Entertaining, Great staging, Must see

See it if You love classic theatre and want to sing your way home.

Don't see it if Your looking for avant garde.

December 28th, 2015
"Friedman seeks to mix philosophical musings and autobiographical vignettes into a brainy, insightful theater. He succeeds only intermittently...It’s annoying, and the other details that he shares are pretty generic, so latching onto him as a sympathetic character is difficult. Also not helping M...
read more
December 22nd, 2015
"The production is big on visual and aural distractions designed to enliven the windy generalities of Friedman's text...Whether you take Friedman as a genuinely deep mind, a classic American eccentric in the Bronson Alcott mode, or a skilled purveyor of snake oil, 'Phalaris' Bull' is a one-of-a-k...
read more
December 19th, 2015
"The 80-minute evening is as close as you're likely to ever come to receiving an exclusive tour of something that could be considered a great mind...Director David Schweizer has done nothing to tone down the evening's pretensions and elicit Friedman's underlying humanity. If anything, Friedman's ...
read more
December 23rd, 2015
"This solo show is as alien to the universe of professional theater as Chewbacca would be in Scranton. That stage set, with its array of windows, nooks, compartments, and sliding panels, is far and away the most memorable thing about 'Phalaris's Bull'…From the moment the play begins, the design t...
read more

Related content

Cast & Creatives (4)