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Getting The Scoop On The Mysterious Monologues of SEA WALL/ A LIFE

Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge return to Broadway in the new work by Simon Stephens and Nick Payne.

Getting The Scoop On The Mysterious Monologues of SEA WALL/ A LIFE

Actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge return to Broadway this season in the acclaimed monologue play, Sea Wall/A Life.

Following a successful run off-Broadway at the Public, the show has recently begun previews at Broadway's Hudson Theatre.

Despite the high-profile names involved, however. plot details remain largely shrouded in mystery. BroadwayWorld did some digging to help audiences better understand the emotional inner workings of the star-studded, secretive new work.

Penned by playwrights Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and Nick Payne (Constellations), press materials describe the piece as deeply personal accounts of two devoted husbands and fathers as they explore life's biggest questions involving love, death, marriage, and parenthood.

In his third collaboration with Tony and Olivier Award winner Stephens, Sturridge performs the first monologue titled, "Sea Wall". Portraying a photographer named Alex, Sturridge takes the audience through a love letter to his wife, Helen, and their daughter Lucy, recounting a vacation in the south of France to visit his military veteran father-in-law.

As they swim, Alex and his father-in-law get into some heavy, Beckett-esque arguments, debating infinity, the existence of god, and the limits of human understanding. After a terrifying glimpse of the abyss, Alex's story wraps up with what reviews have called a "tragic final act" that shatters Alex and leaves audiences reeling.

In another continued artistic collaboration, Jake Gyllenhaal reunites with playwright Nick Payne for "A Life", another memory-driven monologue tackling the monumental question of how to say goodbye to those dearest to us and what it means when a son becomes a father.

Gyllenhaal portrays Abe, a music industry professional reconciling his emotions surrounding the pending birth of his first child and passing of his father. Fixating on momentary memories of family and the absence thereof, "A Life" spends less time lingering on existential philosophy in favor of personal recollections and yet somehow arrives at a similar monumental pondering of mortality.

Originally performed by its playwright in the wake of his own father's passing, "A Life" first appeared with the title, "The Art of Dying" at Donmar Warehouse in 2013.

For the off-Broadway premiere of the show Gyllenhaal received a Drama League Award nomination for his performance. For his work, Sturridge received a Lucille Lortel Award nomination.

For more clues on the content of this brand-new Broadway drama, check out our Review Roundup from the show's off-Broadway premiere, see our interview with the show's stars, find out what changes are in store for the Broadway production, see Jake in action, and watch him discuss the piece further on Live with Kelly and Ryan and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert!

Sea Wall/A Life began previews at Broadway's Hudson Theatre on July 26, and is set for an official opening on August 8. For more information and tickets, visit

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From This Author Alexa Criscitiello