The latest title in the popular Audible Theater series of audio-plays, Sea Wall/A Life – the sold-out New York stage hit double bill of two moving direct-address monologues reflecting on love, life, and loss – is set to be released on Thursday, April 30, and available for free download to Audible members through May 31. Written respectively by Simon Stephens and Nick Payne, the paired solo memory plays are narrated by Tom Sturridge and Jake Gyllenhaal, the acclaimed original stars of the show’s Off-Broadway run at The Public Theater and its Broadway transfer for a limited engagement at the Hudson Theatre.
Directed by Carrie Cracknell, the heartrending stories of two very different millennial men are thematically tied together by the devastating and transformative occurrence of losing a loved one – an experience that is at once personal and universal. The expressive emotionally-charged voices of Sturridge as Alex, an English photographer vacationing with his family on the French seaside, and Gyllenhaal as Abe, an American music producer and expectant father, bring all the human drama and empathy to their storytelling that they did in the live theatrical productions.
Each of the protagonists is distinctive and individualized, as heard, and felt, in the actors’ compelling vocal characterizations and in the clear contrast between the gentle, introspective, and softly grieving Alex and the more outspoken, wry, and sardonic Abe (and in the other key figures they discuss and imitate). But they also tread on common ground in their growing recognition of the inescapable cycle of life, as they separately recollect the twists and turns they faced, come to terms with the momentous events of which they speak, and expose the profoundly joyous and painful process of their own maturation.
If you missed the New York productions, or would like to revisit the affecting stories and performances, you can now listen to the deeply touching narratives of Sea Wall/A Life on Audible. Just be sure to have a box of tissues handy.
Running Time: One hour and 22 minutes.
Sea Wall/A Life is available online beginning on Thursday, April 30, 2020, and can be downloaded for free by Audible members through May 31, 2020.