Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $7.95

Buy for $7.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Meet Alex, a photographer on a holiday with his family in the south of France. Meet Abe, a music producer with a baby on the way. Two men - both fathers, husbands, and sons - take us on a journey you will never forget. The finest actors of their generation, Academy Award® nominee Jake Gyllenhaal (Sunday in the Park with George) and Tony Award nominee Tom Sturridge (1984), had audiences roaring to their feet during the sold-out Broadway engagement. Now Sea Wall / A Life, a dramatic exploration of transformative love and devastating loss, comes to Audible.

©2020 Simon Stephens and Nick Payne (P)2020 AO Media, LLC.

Our favorite moments from Sea Wall / A Life

"She had us...wrapped around her finger."
-0.00
"Like we're the only ones who know the entire world is about to change."
-0.00
Planning for the inevitable arrival
-0.00
  • Sea Wall / A Life
  • "She had us...wrapped around her finger."
  • Sea Wall / A Life
  • "Like we're the only ones who know the entire world is about to change."
  • Sea Wall / A Life
  • Planning for the inevitable arrival

About the Performer

An Academy Award-nominated actor, Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the finest actors working in film and on stage and has established himself as a producer of note through his company Nine Stories. Working with some of Hollywood's greatest filmmakers in both independent and studio films, Gyllenhaal starred in Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Far From Home; Ang Lee's classic Brokeback Mountain, for which he received an Oscar nomination and won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor; Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler; Bong Joon Ho’s Okja; David Ayer’s End of Watch; Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw; Dennis Villeneuve’s Prisoners and Enemy; Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko; David Fincher's Zodiac; Sam Mendes' Jarhead; Nicole Holofcener's Lovely and Amazing; Ed Zwick's Love and Other Drugs, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination; and Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, for which he earned a BAFTA nomination.

His stage work includes Sea Wall / A Life; Sunday in the Park with George; Constellations (Drama Desk Award); Little Shop of Horrors; If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet; and This is Our Youth (Evening Standard Award). He reprises his role in Sunday In the Park with George in the West End at London’s Savoy Theatre. Gyllenhaal through Nine Stories has produced Paul Dano’s Wildlife; David Gordon Green’s Stronger; and executive produced the documentary Hondros. Nine Stories is in post-production on Antonio Campos’ The Devil All The Time for Netflix, Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Good Joe Bell, and Tate Taylor’s Breaking News in Yuba County. Upcoming, Nine Stories will start production on Gilded Rage, based on the Vanity Fair article with the same title by Benjamin Wallace. For the stage, Nine Stories produced Sunday in the Park with George, Sea Wall / A Life, We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time, Slave Play, and the upcoming musicals Sunday in the Park with George for the West End and Caroline, or Change.

About the Performer

Tom Sturridge was born on December 21, 1985 in London, England. He is a Tony-nominated actor, who is best known for his roles in Far from the Madding Crowd, On the Road, Pirate Radio, and Being Julia. Sturridge grew up surrounded by the entertainment industry as his father is director Charles Sturridge and his mother is actress Phoebe Nicholls. He made his professional acting debut as a child in 1996, playing Tom Gulliver in NBC's Gulliver's Travels, directed by his father and co-starring his mother. His big break came in 2009, after being cast as Carl, one of the leading roles in Richard Curtis's comedy The Boat That Rocked (released under the title of Pirate Radio in the States) opposite the likes of Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Sturridge made his London stage debut in September 2009, playing William in Simon Stephens's Punk Rock at the Lyric Hammersmith, which led to him winning the Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Newcomer. In 2013, Tom debuted in the critically acclaimed Orphans, opposite Alec Baldwin and Ben Foster. He was nominated for Best Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role at The Tony Awards for his performance.

In 2015, he played God in the Young Vic Theatre's stage adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Trial and went on to star as Bobby (opposite John Goodman and Damian Lewis) in David Mamet's American Buffalo at the Wyndham's Theatre in the West End. He also starred as Sergeant Francis Troy in 2015's Far from the Madding Crowd. Following his turn as Henry VI in the BBC/PBS television series The Hollow Crown in 2016, as 2nd Lt. Hibbert in Journey's End and as Lord Byron in Mary Shelley in 2017, Sturridge returned to the Great White Way to star as Winston Smith in the Broadway premiere of George Orwell's 1984 stage adaptation, playing the Hudson Theatre from May 18 through October 8, 2017, starring opposite Olivia Wilde and Reed Birney. In 2018, he played Jake in Sweetbitter on the Starz network and in 2019, he starred in Velvet Buzzsaw in a cast led by Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. He would collaborate with Gyllenhaal again around the time of the film's release, making his Off-Broadway debut for the Public Theater in Sea Wall/A Life. Tom was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play at The Lucille Lortel Awards for his performance.

About the Creator

Simon Stephens’s plays include Fortune, Light Falls, Maria, Fatherland, Rage, Heisenberg, Nuclear War, Song from Far Away, Birdland, Carmen Disruption, Blindsided, Morning, Three Kingdoms, Wastwater, Punk Rock, The Trial of Ubu, Marine Parade, Sea Wall, Harper Regan, Pornography, Motortown, On the Shore of the Wide World, One Minute, Country Music, Christmas, Port, Herons and Bluebird. He has written English language versions of Jon Fosse’s I Am the Wind, Odon Von Horvath’s Kasimir and Karoline (titled The Funfair), Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and The Seagull, and Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera. He has presented three series of the Royal Court Playwright’s Podcast. His book A Working Diary is published by Methuen. Simon Stephens has been an Associate at the Royal Court, London and Steep, Chicago and a board member of Paines Plough. He is currently an Associate Artist at the Lyric, Hammersmith, a Professor of Scriptwriting at Manchester Metropolitan University, and an Associate Professor at the Danish National School of the Performing Arts, Copenhagen.

Photo Credit: Kevin Cummins

About the Creator

Nick Payne (Playwright). Theatre: If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet (Bush Theatre and Roundabout Theatre Company), Wanderlust (Royal Court Theatre), Sophocles’ Electra (Gate Theatre), One Day When We Were Young (Paines Plough/Sheffield Theatres and Shoreditch Town Hall), Lay Down Your Cross (Hampstead Theatre), Constellations (Broadway, Royal Court Theatre, Duke of York’s and U.K. tour), The Same Deep Water as Me (Donmar Warehouse), Blurred Lines (The Shed, National Theatre), Incognito (Nabokov/Live Theatre, Newcastle and Manhattan Theatre Club), The Art of Dying (Royal Court Theatre), Elegy (Donmar Warehouse). Film: The Sense of an Ending (BBC Films/Origin Pictures). TV: Wanderlust (BBC One/Netflix).

Featured Article: The Show Must Go On—Premier Audiobooks Now Playing for Theater Fans


A good play or musical is emblematic of what we love about entertainment—a chance to escape, to be fully immersed in another world, to engage with our most human emotions in a moment brought brilliantly to life by the talents of impeccable performers. It's possible to get your fix of the Great White Way in the comfort of your own home. Here are just a few of our favorite theater audiobooks to tide you over until curtain call.

What listeners say about Sea Wall / A Life

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,909
  • 4 Stars
    1,260
  • 3 Stars
    976
  • 2 Stars
    445
  • 1 Stars
    493
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,718
  • 4 Stars
    799
  • 3 Stars
    444
  • 2 Stars
    206
  • 1 Stars
    253
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,551
  • 4 Stars
    1,114
  • 3 Stars
    822
  • 2 Stars
    438
  • 1 Stars
    474

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible. Sea Wall fell short

I watched this in theatre twice and I was blown away by both monologues. I had saved the Audible release date in my calendar and listened to it the same day. Jake Gyllenhaal delivered A Life with the same extraordinary performance he did on stage, which is incredible because this doesn't include the facial expression and body language element. Sea Wall was pretty good but compared to the stage performance, it was shorter and it was missing some parts in the end. I was so confused I had to check the app to make sure it didn't skip forward. Overall, I absolutely love this production and I'm really pleased that it's on Audible. I highly recommend it ♥️

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not this time

I think I've listened to 90% of Audible theater content and for the most part I either enjoy or really love what I read. Not this time. I have a feeling that if you don't know the background of the performance (saw it on stage or read about it extensively), it would be quite hard to follow. Performances were great but I'm not sure I care about the story. maybe I'l give it another try one day.

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Too Depressing

I’m sure it’s me, but these characters who are so self involved, they can’t see anything but their own inflated angst just annoy me. I get nothing out of them. And I thought the performance was just a little too forced to get caught up in. Again, I’m sure it’s me and my pedestrian tastes.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Nope

I disliked this "audiobook" intensely. I think maybe some listeners didn't understand that what they were listening to wasn't an audiobook but a recorded version of two one-man plays, which accounts for some of the weirdness. I understand this and in my opinion it doesn't work as an audiobook at all. Granted I don't think I would have enjoyed the live performance anyway, but the style of acting, particularly from Tom Sturridge, translates horribly to the audio recording medium. As soon as the first story began, I didn't think I'd be able to make it all the way through, and honestly I only continued because I was out for a run and had nothing else to listen to. I found Sturridge's performance affected and unpleasant, particularly his vocal fry and the interminably long pauses when his character was supposedly looking for a word he couldn't think of. This would work in a live performance, but in an audio recording it was insufferable. As for the writing, I also found the stream of consciousness style and jumping from one thought to another extremely affected and irritating in both narratives. It surprised me that the two plays were written by different playwrights, as they were both pretentious in precisely the same way.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing

Heart wrenching and heart warming. Overwhelmingly beautiful the way Tom and Jake are able to convey the stories of Alex and Abe, simply through words. I was curious how it would compare to experiencing it on stage, and it really is the next best thing. Even with no audience to play off of, it was filled with emotion. Definitely must listen!

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

terrible

Narration was absolutely terrible. Received a free copy and immediately understood why it was free. Dont waste your time

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful

Such a wonderfully written and performed script. Emotional and full of sorrow, this was incredibly done. I suggest really listening to get the full grasp. Highly recommend!

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

So many emotions!

Having lost a loved one recently and had a miscarriage years ago, this brought back so many memories and emotions. Could have really done without the F-word especially in the first half. Not even my most foul-mouthed friends say it that often! But overlooking that, it was very touching.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The human condition

Sea Wall/A Life embodies a poignant sliver of humanity. The death of a child, death of a parent and birth of a child are universal in their specific portrayals . Acted so heart rendingly by Sturridge and Gyllenhaal, the narrators are Everyman who has ever experienced the loss of a loved one. The tenderness is palpable. I cried for the loss of my own parents who died more than 20 years ago. I know it will not be for the last time.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

10/10 recommend

i loved it so much, the writing is phenomenal and the repeating phrases and themes were so pleasing to the mind.
the performances by tom sturridge and jake gyllenhaal were incredibly moving, there was so much emotion in their voices which at times made me laugh and at times made me cry which honestly i didnt expect.
the concept of god and life and death and love are beautifully explored and i could vividly see the story play out in my head because it was written and performed so wonderfully.
i'll definitely listen to this a couple of times more because its so beautiful.

6 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nyeasha Miller
  • Nyeasha Miller
  • 05-11-20

❤️

Beautiful and heartbreaking.
Like nothing I've listened to before.
So unique and lovely. Great performances

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-03-20

be ready to be moved

make sure you are not interrupted. it is beautifully performed by both actors and it made me full on cry

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for faye puddifoot
  • faye puddifoot
  • 05-02-20

Don’t listen to this in public.

At first I was sad that I’d missed the chance to see the play, but after listening to it, I changed my mind. It’s utterly heart wrenching and if I’d been around other people? Nope.

Be prepared to be a mess.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-01-20

Extraordinary

Both of the stories reach deep inside me and pull out my own memories and life experiences. I love the true honesty of both pieces which include the beautiful aspects of life but also its hardships and the darker moments. Also I cannot ommit the brilliance of both Gyllenhaal and Sturridge who are taking on a rollercoaster of feelings. As I wasn't able to see this being performed live, I'm so happy that this beautiful piece of theatre has been brought here to heal and break hearts.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Cookie
  • Cookie
  • 09-01-20

Better than I thought!

Loved every bit of it...was not what I expected, both stories were very moving - had to take a break between them, the first kind of shook me, needed time to absorb...brilliantly performed.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-28-20

Amazing!

I totally loved it! Not an easy listen, but bleeding brilliantly. Well done all involved.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Deborah Payne
  • Deborah Payne
  • 05-26-20

Moving yet funny

Emotional, moving, heartbreaking yet funny. Both pieces are beautifully written and performed. After my first listen, I went straight back and listened again. Bravo

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-18-20

An amazing way to pass an afternoon

A couple of beautiful stories that really make you feel something. If you find yourself needing an emotional release or a way to pass time, this is the way to spend it.

Highly recommend.

(4 stars is a bit picky of me but found the swearing unnecessary in most times its used which took me out of the story a little :P )

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 01-07-21

Sea Wall / A Life

Stunning
Spell bound from start to finish. It draws the rawest of emotions. I’m crying then laughing.
So relatable and breathtakingly real. It is incredibly well told/narrated. I will share this with my sisters and my children who are expecting. Xx
Thank you Tom and Jake

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-05-20

Gorgeous, heartbreaking, touching, human.

What a strikingly lovely piece of work. Beautifully written and masterfully performed by Gyllenhaal and Sturridge. Feels incredibly authentic. Can’t wait to re-listen so I can cry and smile all over again.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 06-26-20

Heartbreaking beautiful

I simultaneously laughed and cried. My heart somehow broke and yet was so full at the same time. Absolutely beautiful!!