Closed 1h 30m
The Gravedigger's Lullaby
Midtown W
79

The Gravedigger's Lullaby NYC Reviews and Tickets

79%
(58 Reviews)
Positive
88%
Mixed
10%
Negative
2%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant

About the Show

TACT presents a new drama about the life of an honest, hard-working gravedigger who sweats and bleeds to support his small family.

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Member Reviews (58)

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75
Great acting, Gritty, Dark, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if You like dark dramas exploring themes of class & struggling to make ends meet. Performances are excellent.

Don't see it if You prefer lighter fare or a comedy.

80
Great acting, Resonant, Relevant, Slow, Intense

See it if Talbott's blue collar drama wears its heart on its dirty sleeve but Koch's excellent Baylen has us in grip from his first sigh of exhaustion

Don't see it if Drama takes too long to reach its points about economic injustice & strives for a questionable mythic quality; good direction helps focus

Critic Reviews (12)

March 14th, 2017

“There’s a core of honest emotion at the center of Jeff Talbott’s ‘The Gravedigger’s Lullaby.’ That isn’t enough to redeem this new play’s problems, but it fuels a few poignant scenes in this fablelike story…The cast members handle the script with deftness…That script could stand to trim some self-conscious poeticism and to smooth a few uneven plot points…Some parts of ‘The Gravedigger’s Lullaby’ are often skewed. But its heart is always in the right place.”
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March 20th, 2017

"The bones of great drama are there, but the execution is stolid and sluggish, a problem sometimes exacerbated by Thompson's direction...The playwright has avoided any details that would ground the action in a specific reality. Similarly, the characters are lacking in shading...Whenever the actors get an opportunity, they seize it with gusto...Gripping scene-by-scene yet a little dull in its overall effect, an unsatisfying, yet startlingly different, work from a still-developing playwright."
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March 13th, 2017

"Emotionally involving due to its engaging performances, but ultimately unsatisfying because of its oddly, strategic lack of specificity, 'The Gravedigger’s Lullaby' is a grim, kitchen-sink drama...Playwright Jeff Talbott offers an overall well-written and plotted social drama that detours into a strident political battle over capitalism...The flawed script is energized by the impeccable production elements...Director Jenn Thompson’s staging is accomplished."
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March 28th, 2017

"There are believable, deep, layered human stories revealed by playwright and four stalwart performers, honed with subtlety and deliberate pacing under Jenn Thompson’s firm directorial hand...The world, in this production of this splendid play, is specific, charming, fearsome, intimate and haunting...Class divisions are tested by human tragedy but rigidly reassert themselves. Sex and physical risk and fear and redemption all combust and resolve, in under two hours. A marvelous creation."
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March 12th, 2017

"With both script and production design sidestepping temporal specificity, the play has a sense of universality that works quite well...Thompson's exquisite collaboration with her actors ensures that what's in the interstices of the dialogue and the silent sequences of the production is poetic, theatrical, and powerful...The well-calibrated pace of what the actors do when they're not talking brings a sense of real life, with its ups and downs, yet keeps things from becoming wearisome."
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March 13th, 2017

"The conflict between the barely surviving gravediggers and the privileged Charles...reminds us of that between what we now call the 1% and the 99%. This, though, doesn't seem Talbott's purpose, which appears to be the revelation of how, even in the direst circumstances, love...can survive and even flourish...'The Gravedigger's Lullaby' is a minor genre piece that generally achieves what it sets out to do. If only that red herring didn't swim into view toward the end."
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March 31st, 2017

"Mr. Koch makes you feel for Baylen....Mr. Lawson brings the pain of never having escaped loss, combined with humor. I have long loved Mr. Beck’s work and, here again, he allows you to see a human side of someone who has more than everyone else...Jenn Thompson’s direction holds this piece together. She allows the pacing and the character study is fleshed out...Talbott’s script has some elements that need a little more subtlety, but there are easy ways to fix that."
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W
March 12th, 2017

"Playwright Jeff Talbot’s character portraits are terrific...'The Gravedigger’s Lullaby' features pain, sacrifice, determination and commitment under grim, untenable circumstances, yet its overriding message is one of the persistence of human spirit...Anguish, resolution, and a single moment of joy, all seem authentic. We empathize rather than sympathize...Director Jenn Thompson does a marvelous job of defining her characters, right down to the way they carry themselves."
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March 17th, 2017

"A thoughtful and articulate depiction of those subsisting on the bottom rungs of society. Brought to life in an appreciative production...Director Jenn Thompson has staged Talbott’s work with both theatrical savvy and an open heart, guiding her four actors into beautifully drawn portrayals...The plotting may seem at times to rely too heavily on happenstance. However...his play vibrates with an up-to-the-minute resonance that overcomes any dramaturgical nitpicking."
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March 15th, 2017

“The Gravedigger’s Lullaby’ will assure Talbott’s place in the current list of important writers for our theatre…Talbott builds it slowly from a simmer to a boil, finishing with a coda that is honest and satisfying, and gives resonance to the play’s title. A remarkable cast of four brings it all vividly to life...Ted Koch is playing the title role, and his performance is so grounded that from his opening moments alone onstage, he commands our attention…It’s a winner.”
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March 13th, 2017

"Despite good intentions and passages of real lyrical humanism, the play ends up making the same mistakes as the Left...Jenn Thompson’s direction is energetic and precise, and the acting is strong almost across the board, but in the end the play reinforces the very cultural narratives it purports to dismantle...'The Gravedigger’s Lullaby' deserves praise for trying to shine a light from Theatre Row into the homes of the dispossessed, but it’s ultimately too patronizing and solipsistic."
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March 24th, 2017

"A timeless tale…Two parts ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and one part Tennessee Williams…Koch inhabits this character with a gruffly sad gravitas that is part teddy bear, part dangerous, and quite honest. His scenes with coworker and fellow gravedigger Gizzer are perhaps the most captivating…These moments felt effortless…If you have an opportunity to see ‘The Gravedigger’s Lullaby,’ I highly recommend you do. It has highly relatable moments, some of joy and deep desperation.”
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