If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet

WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/24/12 at 10:07pm
You want to know what the most shocking thing is? The title isn't even the worst part about this mess! It's hard to believe, but very true.

This was one of the more excruciating things I've seen in a while. I'm not talking about the acting, or the set or direction (more on those later), but the actual text itself. Pointless drivel that rambled on and on and on and on and on and on. They talked about anything and everything EXCEPT a topic that might advance some sort of plot along. Most of the conversations revolved around food, and there was a particular dreadful scene in an Indian restaurant that should never have made it out of rehearsal.

Why did Jake Gyllenhaal choose this as his American stage debut?! It's not even his character's story and although the other three actors never leave the stage he departs about 2/3 way through the piece. Jake did have the line, "Fat Girls are the fvcking salt of the earth. Skinny girls are cvnts," which could end up being the line of the season, so there's at least that.

I'll paraphrase, but a typical scene went something like this:
Jake: What the fvck are you fvcking doing up here?
Annie Funke: Just reading.
Jake: What the fvck are you doing that for?
Annie: Did you really set that car on fire?
Jake: Oh fvck. That's fvcking nice. So the fvcking rumor mill's been turning I see. Bet it was that fvcking cvnt who told you.

And you get the point. Not that I'm offended by swearing at all, but this was just trying too hard.

The director had an interesting idea with the set, but I don't think it really worked. Every piece of the set (chairs, tables, a bed, etc) has been placed in the center of the stage, otherwise dressed as a black box. As the scenes progress the actors grab the pieces needed for that scene and set it up.

SPOILER
When the scene is over the chairs and tables are thrown into a pool of water at the front the stage for no reason I could figure out!
END SPOILER

I couldn't have disliked this play more. I know some of you may think it's wrong to voice such a negative reaction after a first preview, but it wasn't the acting or any of that stuff that I thought was the problem. It was the play. I had a violent reaction against it and all I can do is say that.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/24/12 at 10:39pm
This review is a lie. Jake Gyllenhaal was glorious. His presence radiated from the stage and filled the hearts an souls in the audience with a love so pure and so beautiful that it will be spoken about until the end of time.

He has arrived on the New York stage and He is glorious.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/24/12 at 10:45pm
If only that was the case! Jake played a Chav type character, which I normally find pretty hot, but even that couldn't distract me enough.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/24/12 at 10:49pm
He hath come. Let Him be rejoiced.
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/24/12 at 10:52pm
MysteriousGrowl will confirm this. He held my hand throughout the evening as I witnessed His presence and cried tears of joy.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/24/12 at 10:54pm
Jordan we were all crying tears of joy- when it was over!
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/24/12 at 10:55pm
How dare you. I wish that was you in that tub.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/24/12 at 11:03pm
Lol she only did what any normal person would do after they realized they were stuck in this show for the next two months.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/24/12 at 11:32pm
The author's heart seems to be in the right place; it's his pen that's not.

Too bad, for there's the basis of a good play here.

Muddled and unfocused, the play offers multiple short scenes with a lot of small talk and little dramatic momentum. Characters are not explored in depth, and actions seem improperly and/or insufficiently motivated.

It's hard to see why Jake Gyllenhaal would choose this property for his NY stage debut. His character lacks depth; nor is it the central role. He's off stage quite a bit.

The most interesting character was a diehard ecology devotee, but his speeches on the subject seemed to belong to another play.

But then, nothing seems to cohere in this play.
Rodgerdodger
Chorus Member
joined:8/17/12
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/25/12 at 08:42am
Oh dear, and I was hoping this would be good. It's hard enough to get stars to do new plays.
Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/25/12 at 09:35am
I respect Whizzer's opinions so much that I wouldn't go near this apparent stinker. And I like Jake.
BroadwayEd
matty159
Broadway Star
joined:3/30/07
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/25/12 at 09:48am
Excruciating is an understatement. I couldn't stop looking at my watch and counting down the set pieces used and tossed asunder. And thank goodness there was no intermission, because this is one that I seriously might have walked from.

Starting with the title (which should be fun to see the critics toy with), there is nothing going on that makes any sense. Ok, to be fair, there is a plot in there...and as stated, there is potential. I just didn't care after the first few scenes.

Entering the theater, I was intrigued by the scenic design. Whizzer already gave the set spoiler and all I can say is that has to be some misguided and incomprehensible metaphor. But again, I simply didn't care other than to worry about the possibility of the wood pieces warping as they sat in the pool.

I thought Jake was fine. For the bit he was on stage. But as others have stated, it is baffling why he chose this for his US stage debut.

I'd say it is a good thing this is playing at the Pels and to a subscriber base. A commercial run would likely have been a complete disaster. They might be able to tighten things up...or maybe I am completely off base and missed the point of it altogether. Though in my humble opinion, I expect a bloodbath. It was two hours of my life that I will never get back.
2014 Seen-It List: The Glass Menagerie, A Man's A Man, WOW (at BRIC), Bullets Over Broadway, Here Lies Love, Mothers and Sons, TONY Awards Dress Rehearsal
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/25/12 at 09:50am
I had to leave right after, but did anyone stage door? I have 7 other tickets for this show in the next couple weeks (Did y'all know I'm a Gyllenhaal fan????) so was very curious how he was there...
tazber
Broadway Legend
joined:5/10/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/25/12 at 10:08am
So, another season off to a good start I see.
....but the world goes 'round
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/25/12 at 10:20am
Look, I enjoyed the play. Probably more than most people who don't write "Mrs. Jake Gyllenhaal" on their notebook all day long, but I think it's far from the absolute trainwreck it's been made out to be.
matty159
Broadway Star
joined:3/30/07
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/25/12 at 10:45am
As I stated, I am more than willing to concede it might have just been me. It simply came off as trying too hard, pretentious, and misguided for me.

2014 Seen-It List: The Glass Menagerie, A Man's A Man, WOW (at BRIC), Bullets Over Broadway, Here Lies Love, Mothers and Sons, TONY Awards Dress Rehearsal
Updated On: 8/25/12 at 10:45 AM
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/25/12 at 01:23pm
Jordan- I did not stagedoor, but I heard from someone who did and said Jake took almost 2 hrs to come out and he only signed for 5 people before leaving.

I wasn't trying to be a dick to you earlier either. If you really liked the play then I'm honestly glad you did! I, like matty, just couldn't wait for it to be over.

The thing is there were glimmers of the stage charisma Jake could have in a better show. The audience clearly wanted to like him, and pretty much he was the only actor they responded to. I hope he returns to the stage in something more suited to showcase his talents.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
Patti LuPone FANatic
Broadway Legend
joined:3/4/06
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/25/12 at 01:48pm
Does anyone know if he can sing? I do recall a bit he did in drag on Saturday Night Live. from RC in Austin, Texas
Susan Haskins (Theatre Talk): "I love children. That's why I work with Michael (Riedel)."
Jay Lerner-Z
Broadway Legend
joined:4/4/11
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/25/12 at 01:50pm
How was Brian F.O'Byrne?
AKA Mama Rose
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/25/12 at 01:58pm
O'Byrne I don't think ever leaves the stage (though a good deal of the time he's reading papers in a chair and not involved with the current scene). His part is very underdeveloped and it took me over half the play to realize that Jake played his brother and not the brother of O'Byrne's wife. The relationships were confusing especially...


SPOILER**********
because hints of incest are involved
END SPOILER*******


and they really need to define who these people are. There are also several characters that are spoken of, but never seen, and it's sometimes difficult to figure out their relationship to the on stage characters.

O'Byrne opens the play with a monologue to the audience about Hurricane Katrina, and given the pile of chairs and tables on the stage I assumed this play would take place in New Orleans. Then I was like, "Why are all these British people in New Orleans? Are they helping rebuild?" I realized the play has nothing to do with Katrina and moved on from that train of thought.

O'Byrne occasionally addresses the audience with some message about our carbon footprint or humanity or something like that and then sits back down in his chair.

Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
Updated On: 8/25/12 at 01:58 PM
Jay Lerner-Z
Broadway Legend
joined:4/4/11
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/25/12 at 02:02pm
Thanks. I don't think I'll be losing any sleep over missing this.
AKA Mama Rose
DeNada
Broadway Star
joined:7/7/07
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/25/12 at 02:21pm
I didn't get to see this when it was staged in London but I have seen some of Nick Payne's other work and think he's an excellent playwright. It's a shame it doesn't seem to be translating well (or maybe just wasn't that good in the first place - the original production was directed by Josie Rourke, who now runs the Donmar, so maybe that elevated the script?) - several of the reviews in the UK pointed to the restaurant scene as a highlight!
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/25/12 at 03:27pm
As we left, I told Growl that the play seemed EXTREMELY British to me, and I didn't know how well that would translate here.
mybestaudition
Chorus Member
joined:8/19/11
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/26/12 at 11:34pm
Just got home from this show...

...so what was it about?

themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/27/12 at 10:28am

The writing is on par with last season's (similarly mouthfully) WILD ANIMALS YOU SHOULD KNOW, which was one of the worst things I've seen on an Off-Broadway stage. ITIIHFIY has the benefits of a more talented cast and slightly better direction. The accents are thick, and since there were a few stretches where I had trouble hearing the actors volume-wise -- especially when they'd mind-bogglingly face upstage, and especially Michelle Gomez -- at times I was struggling just to make sure I wasn't missing key plot points.

As it turned out, I didn't miss anything... because nothing happens.

The payoffs for the audience's attention hinge on a small handful of emotionally wrought scenes, none of which feel dramatically justified -- and none of them occurring until well into the 2-hour, intermissionless evening. (The play may tighten up a tiny bit, but nothing about the performances or scene changes seemed gappy; I think we got what they rehearsed.) We understand the stakes for the family and characters are high, but only because we recognize their dysfunction objectively, not because the playwright dramatizes it.

Jake G. is the obvious draw here, and he's good. He's SO American. He's JAKE. But I bought his heavy chav dialect. After a few perfs it should get a little less technical-sounding, but he's clearly done his homework. Unfortunately, aside from being a good-natured roughneck, he has little more to do or build on. Mr. O'Byrne grew on me as the show progressed, and right now he's doing the best, most subtle work onstage, despite being burdened with a couple of thematically mystifying monologues and an insufferably selfish character. Funke and Gomez are there, as well, saying their lines in ways that make sense mostly.

But they're all fighting that script, which is scene after scene of dialogue leading nowhere, building towards an appalling sappy ending. (One credit -- the final monologue is nice, but what it has to do with the play, I cannot surmise.) The set and the way the actors utilize its pieces is on par with a college sophomore's idea of inventive, clever design. It's pretentious to the max and, again, an overwrought and somewhat mystifying metaphor.

This genre of distantly observed dramedy is a tricky, difficult beast to make work. This play is a thoroughly un-compelling example, and this production is thoroughly un-compelling argument for it.
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
WithoutATrace
Broadway Legend
joined:11/27/04
If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Posted: 8/27/12 at 10:33am
"As it turned out, I didn't miss anything... because nothing happens."

That pretty much sums it up. Honestly, I was simply bored through most of it. I hope to see Jake on stage again with a script better suited to his talents.

1
Page: