Sea Wall/A Life are playing at the Public Theatre located at 425 Lafayette Street. It runs two hours ten minutes. The play closes on March 24, 2019.
Simon Stephens is the playwright. Simon wrote Sea Wall. He won a Tony Award (2015) and an Olivier Award (2013) for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Nick Payne is the playwright for A Life.
Tom Sturridge was nominated for a Tony Award for Orphans (2013).
There is a fairly bare stage to the right is a table with a lamp and to the left a piano. A ladder takes you to another level.
Sea Wall is the first play. Before the show opens Alex (Tom Strurridge) climbs the ladder with a tray with food and two bottles of beer. He drinks the food and drinks one of the beers. When the play begins he brings the full bottle of beer and empties into a glass on the table. He drinks half of the glass. The story is done in pieces between his daughter, wife and father-in-law. His father-in-law was in the military for thirty years in Ireland. When he retired he moved to France. They visited him often. Alex is a photographer. Occasionally he mentions God. Something bad happens in France that tears his life apart. He drinks the rest of the bear. At the end without his name out loud but imply it is there a God?
A Life is the second play. Abe (Jake Gyllenhaal) walks across the stage and shuts off the lights. Using his phone he finds the table and turns on the light. To the right he finds a switch that puts light on the left side of the stage where he stands. The story goes back and forth between his family and his father. Abe tells as how he is cooking a chicken for his wife. He tells us when he was young his dad wakes him up. His dad had pains down his arm, could he sleep next to him since his mom is out. Abe freaks at thought of sleeping next to him but he does. He gets married has a daughter. His dad almost dies. They’re going to put a stent but it to late he doesn’t have much time to live. All the years he neglected the warning signs. His father dies. Abe is devastated. He is watching his six month daughter and gives her lavender oil instead of a vitamin. He reads the bottle which if taken internally seek medical help. All he does is rock her back and forth. It ends with him playing some bars of a Beatle song his dad use to sing.
Sea Wall is done in bits and pieces back and forth. We get little pieces of the things that happen in his life. Like he tells us he said something to his father-in-law that he never said to anyone but never tells a what. It’s too confusing to care.
A Wall is a better story; you know what is going on. But it’s still not in order. It seems there could be a better way to say it but not the way it is.
Both actors do a great job.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
To read a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for photos. Click on photos for this and other shows.