27 August 2012

If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet

Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Gomez, Annie Funke, and Brian F. O’Byrne

Thanks to my best friend, Jason, I saw my first Broadway play this weekend. We went to see the Roundabout Theatre Company's off-Broadway production of If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet, the story of how a dysfunctional family comes together to solve their problems. The play, by British playwright Nick Payne, received positive reviews in London in 2009 and now stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Gomez, Annie Funke, and Brian F. O'Byrne.

We knew nothing of the play upon walking into the theater save that my husband, Jake, was starring in it. While I wish that Wicked was the one to pop my Broadway cherry, I still had a great time watching this play. Jake makes his American stage debut playing the role of Terry, a heartbroken man who forms a strong bond with and tries to protect his overweight and bullied niece, Anna (played by Annie Funke).

There were a few times during the show where it was difficult to determine whether or not something was improvised, planned, or a complete mistake altogether. I was caught off guard when the actors threw different pieces of the set into large, clear basins of water located at the end of the stage. They would occasionally do this upon finishing a scene which, in my opinion, didn't quite read well.

There was, for example, a scene where Terry and Anna were baking in the kitchen and pushed the props and kitchen table to the ground, knocking everything across the stage, and finally kicking it all down into a basin. It seemed a little reckless and amateur from where I sat, but could have also been seen as a fun transitionary scene showing how much fun the two were having. Maybe I need to see a few more shows before making a judgment call on that one, we'll see.

Nick Payne's If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet began its performances at Roundabout Theatre Company's Laura Pels Theatre this past Friday, the 24th of August and is scheduled to run on a limited engagement through the 25th of November.

Photo credit: Bruce Glikas

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