Saturday, 25 August 2012

The curtain opens! Opening night report for WDW from If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet and Jake Gyllenhaal's NYC stage debut

Last night, Jake Gyllenhaal made his debut on the NYC stage in the 145-minute play If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet, which began its previews at the Roundabout Theatre. I'm delighted to report that we had our own eyes and ears in the audience (at the front, of course), in the lovely shape of BBMISwear, who has managed in all the excitement to send us some notes on the play as well as the production flyers from the theatre. With many thanks to her, here is what she said in a mixture of her words and mine, but I think I should begin with a warning. Should you be lucky enough to sit in the front row of If There Is, you might want to be prepared - it is a Splash Zone!

Needless to say, if you wish to remain spoiler free, you may wish to skip the following section of the post...

*Update* There are further reports in the comments!

The Play

It's fair to say that BBMISwear/Lisa loved the play, which is an intense ride - there is no intermission. But what was a big surprise is how funny the play is! 'It is very,very funny - I don't think the audience expected to laugh that much but most all did and did so a lot!' but 'It is also very intense and sad and one particular scene is heart wrenching - I was not the only person who shed tears.'

There is a lot of swearing. A LOT. Jake swears 'every 3rd word...seriously, every 3rd word!!' His character of Terry also doesn't hold back. Jake says and does and discusses 'all sorts of things you might not expect'. He wears the 'drifter look' throughout and apparently his British accent is very good (although personally I'm interested to hear how that holds up over the run and also what kind of accent it is).

After the Play

At the end of the play 'the cast and crew filed out of the theater in dribs and drabs over the course of two hours but Jake took the longest to leave. A fair amount of fans waited to see him - some gave up after waiting an hour or more - some stayed the full 2 hours and 10 minutes (yes, I was one of them)! He was good about pictures and autographs but not real talkative and looked pretty wiped out! (And for good reason)!

I mostly hung back as people really swarmed him and I've done the picture thing with him a couple of times already!' 'He had 2 guys escorting him away and I did catch up with them for a minute as they were walking away and said "Hey Jake - I just wanted to say hi" and he looked up and said "Hey, nice to see you" which was nice of him. I then told him he did a great job tonight and he thanked me and off they went! There was one pap taking pictures as he walked away and lots of fans taking pictures with him when he came out of the theater so I'm sure there will be plenty to see online in the coming days!'

Not surprisingly, Lisa focused on Jake's performance during this visit but she will be back so we can expect more!


 While we wait for the paper reviews to come in, there's time to take a look at Jake's appearance in the September issue of Playbill. As well as talking about how his appearance on Man Vs Wild came about, Jake also talks about why he did If There Is and how difficult it is for him to do the British accent.

'"I fell in love with the character at the start," he says. "He brings a sadness to the play, and I'm drawn to that darkness. He's a real avoider, like everyone in the play. Perhaps that disconnection is what connected me to him. I love his techniques of avoiding, how he speaks in short sentences and unfinished thoughts. The way each character talks looks differently on the page. I love the architecture of the words."'

'"I've played British characters before," says Gyllenhaal. "I've spent, accumulatively, about two years in London, and a majority of my very close friends are British. It comes somewhat naturally. I gravitate toward roles with accents. The voice is a wonderful way into the eternal life of the character."'

Thank you BBMISwear!


Wet Dark and Wild said...

How great to wake up to this report from BBMISwear! Thank you! :-)

Nev said...

Fantastic, :) I only wish I could see it *sigh*


mermon said...
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mermon said...

Thank you so much Kate and Lisa for that report! You are the first to write anything about that!
I'm so happy that it seems to be successful.I think that mix of funny and intense and heart wrenching plus constant swearing must be overwhelming.
I'm so happy for you @Lisa, that you had a chance to "chat" with Jake and that he answered so nicely. I wonder why it took him 2 hours after play. Was he waiting for a crowd to disappear, had he calm himself down after impersonating Terry. I hope Jake had a quiet deep sleeping night.
I'm confused a bit with a play schedule. Does he play again today or it's a break till premiere at September 20th?
I'm also wonder how young Annie played. How interact with Jake? If you could say something more @Lisa.

Wet Dark and Wild said...

Me too... Thanks Nev! Glad you liked it :)

Thanks Mermon! I think we are the first! I'm confused about the schedule too - they can't have a month of previews, surely only a week? I bet there was some winding down in the theatre after the performance, with friends there etc.

mermon said...

Kate - You're probably right about some gathering with friends and maybe a family members after a play.
Previews: August 24–September 19, 2012
Opening Night: Thursday, September 20, 2012
So I think the play will be constantly on since yesterday.

BBMISwear said...

Hi there! Not much sleep but I'm functioning! Yes previews for that long as they tend to make changes to productions right up to opening night & then once it opens officially that is how it stays. That's why there is a rule that critics can't review a show until opening night - I'm sure that doesn't mean what we did here but no real legit reviews. I thought of this when I sent my notes - very vague & only about Jake not the plot, dialogue,etc.! Seeing it again after opening will be interesting as there may be differences.

It seemed Jake was hanging out with people involved in the production after based on the people we saw - everyone out the same door including Jake. The door man did radio to co workers a lot as he kept eyeing the crowd so I do think part of it was waiting for it to dwindle. One person on twitter said when he came out he looked like he didn't want to be there but this did not seem the case. I've seen times when he's looked like he didn't want to be bothered - this time he just looked very tired & quiet - stopped a bit but had to get going - was very nice about it all!

Annie was fantastic & she and Jake were terrific together - cant say much more than that for now! I'll be check in again later! :-)

Tina said...

Long-time listener, first-time caller. Thank you SO much for putting this up so quickly, WDW! And BBMISwear, thanks so much for going on opening night JUST to update us. (That was totally why you went, right? LOL) I am completely psyched and sitting on my hands in utter anticipation of 10/20, when I get to go to NYC for the first time ever to see Jake onstage.

jfaulkin said...

Thanks so much for posting. It was great to read. So glad you had a great time. Cant wait to read more. :D

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much to both of you, Kate and Lisa!I can't explain by words but it's something precious read this report of the play for someone that couldn't be there!!!
Big big hugs!
A great weekend to everyone

Wet Dark and Wild said...

Thanks, Mermon, that's useful to know :)

Yeay, BBMISwear :-) Gppd work! I didn't know that about previews - interesting. Just shows how much the play will vary. Be fascinating to compare first and last performances. But yes, this is kept vague - wouldn't want to post spoilers anyway. I would've thought Jake was absolutely shattered! Thanks again, Lisa, so much.

Welcome, Tina! Thanks for commenting. Do please let us know what you think when you see it - if you can email me any thoughts to, I'd love to include them in a post. Have a great time!

Thanks JFaulkin!

It's a pleasure, Carlotta :) It made me feel better too.

I hope you're all having a good weekend! Though so sorry to hear of the death today of Neil Armstrong :(

Sasha said...

Thanks again, Lisa, for your comments. And the comment on how critics are not allowed to write much yet. I have wondered, why I could not find anything yet.

Looking forward to reading all of the reviews come premiere night.

And thanks again for letting me use your post, Kate and Lisa, to inform the German fans.

mermon said...

Thank you Lisa,for these additional details! So nice of you! These rules of showing, changing and reviewing the play are so weird to me.
Were you, the audience, asked to be silent about it? I understand it may occur professional reviewers, but so many people seeing the play during over than 20 days won't keep it in secret,will they?
I saw one great pic of Jake and fan from that evening,on Twitter, he looked so fine!
Can you believe, Michael Longhurst, director of the play, thanked me for my tweet! I love Twitter!

Wet Dark and Wild said...

No problem, Sasha!

That's great, Mermon!!

Leslie said...
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Leslie said...

I'll add my thanks to BBMISwear and WD&W for putting up this post -- I love to read these things that are not in any of the gossip rags or papers . . where WE review Jake and give our feedback.

Speaking of which, HERE is a NY Times article about Jake which is really good. They mention that he now lives in Manhattan. I guess he's left LA for good.

Di said...

What a great report, Lisa! Thank you so much!!!! Love all the details! Wish I could have been there but glad you were! Di

Wet Dark and Wild said...

Hi Leslie! I like thattoo :) Thanks for the link - I think that may be another version of their piece which was online a couple of days ago. I know it's actually printed in the paper today. Interesting about LA (or the lack of it...). Not a surprise but I hope Jake keeps his links with LA.

Hi Di!

Hope you all are having a good day! Another day here at the Oxford Foodie Festival. Lot of fun.

Wet Dark and Wild said...

Hello everyone. Here is a comment from BBMISwear that she's been having difficulties posting.

Lisa's comment

Thanks to all for the nice comments & you're very welcome - I love sharing with all who come to WDW! A special hello to my dear friend Di - thanks for stopping by to read the report!

Hi mermon - no, nothing said to audiences re: not talking about it that is why comments are showing up on blogs,etc. I don't think they pay much attention to these - it is the official publications they will be concerned about & they will all be there on 9/20! Also, another rule - once the 9/20 performance happens it is locked in - no changes are allowed after that.

A few things from Saturday afternoon: we saw all the cast exit the theater & I got to tell Annie how fabulous she was & she seemed genuinely appreciative of many of us telling her this! My friend spoke with Brian O'Byrne & he said we should expect a lot of changes during the course of the previews. I'm so glad I saw it now & can compare! There were a few slight differences on Saturday from Friday.

We saw Jake again when he exited the theater - I got a nice "Oh Hi!" from him which made the guy next to me say "he obviously recognizes you now" which made me laugh! I had told the guy a few of my Jake stories earlier! :-) Jake said no photos & we had to respect that. We saw him again when he returned which was a fluke as we were planning to head right to Brooklyn from there but my friend saw someone she new outside the theater & we stayed a bit to talk & back Jake came - he walked in quickly almost with blinders on which got us talking to the security guy out front. He told us Jake has been a really nice guy (I agreed & shared how he has been the other times I've met him). He said it looked like he has been trying to stay focused & that is probably why he is not wanting to stop & talk to people while going in & out (I agreed with this also & told him I understood & made sure I said it loudly as some people around me did not feel that way). More on that below.

A side note: The guy he has been going in & out of the theater with is his assistant and has been working with him since February. Some appearance details: I forgot to mention from Friday that Jake's character has tattoos - one big one going up the right side of his neck that you can see coming out above the collar of his tee, one large one on the inside of his right forearm & one small one on the front of his left hand. I thought after seeing him outside that I can't recall if they were still there or not - some of us were discussing if they would be removed or stay on between the afternoon & evening shows. I guess when seeing him one locks on to his face & things like fake tattoos go unnoticed - ha ha! I will say when he walked away we very much enjoyed the real Jake Look of tight dark blue jeans & well fitted white tee vs. the Terry Look of very loose faded jeans & loose tee. Jake is looking real good right now!!

Now I just want to comment on the comments being made online & outside the theater re: Jake not wanting to stop for pictures & autographs. Most of us REAL fans understand him being tired, short on time & trying to stay focused & have respected him not wanting to stop (as I discussed with the security person). But there are real Theater Junkies in NYC & believe me they are a breed of their own - ha ha! These people wait at stage doors as many hours as they sit inside theaters - they do it at hundreds of shows & seriously "expect" the actors to stop & sign & pose. They go on & on about how all the big stars do it - even the film stars & they are getting pissed Jake isn't into it. Be prepared for these slighted comments to come I guess. I just hope Jake keeps doing what he feels is right for him. We'll see as time goes on I guess!

That's it I think! What a weekend - whew!! :-)

Susan said...

Hi, Kate and Hey, Lisa! Thanks so much for posting that comment. I feel like I'm being educated about what to expect and how to act when I finally get to NYC to see the play. Just one question - how do I find the stage door to lurk at after the performance?

mermon said...

Thank you Kate for that additional report!
I love your question, @Susan! LOL. It's a question of a person who knows that will be there! Which is not my case unfortunately.Sigh...
Thank you @Lisa for your second report. So you had a chance to see it twice already!? Wonderful. Will you see it again ?:)I wonder what changes have you noticed? In decoration, acting, actors' positions? Not in text, I suppose.
So Jake has tattoos again, like in Brothers? Cool.Did you see what it was?
I read some negative reactions from Theatre Junkies, as you call them, complaining about some chaos on a stage, but that I think will clear up in following previews. And they didn't like too much play itself, which surprise me, cause it was a success in UK. Do you think that maybe British play doesn't transfers well to American audience. Maybe it's similar to POP reception in USA? But they were just few people on a first day. Maybe too picky.
I understand very well that Jake may be too tired, still too much in intense role, especially after first shows to chat with people. I would be disappointed myself, having one chance in a lifetime to see him, but I would understand. He's a human, not machine. Some actors just shake it out and go back to life, some more sensitive needs more time to come back to reality. There will be always someone complaining, no matter how Jake would behave.

mermon said...

Few more words. Someone from viewers just tweeted me back - "If there is I haven't found it yet" - Thought provoking, moving. Acting - terrific, Jake Gyllenhaal's British accent impressive. - YES!

Carol said...

Thanks Lisa and Kate for the reports. As someone with a massive interest in theatre this is something I would so love to see Jake in. Can't wait to hear the reports from everyone who's lucky enough to go.

Exciting times:)

BBMISwear said...

Hi again...trying to recover from my whirlwind weekend!

Hi Susan...I'm sure you are getting excited for your visit to NYC! This is such a small theater there isn't a separate stage door - the cast goes in and out of the front door. Most of the big theaters have a separate door on the side or back of the building. This one does have an additional door but it's only a little bit over from the front door so not secretive at all - one time I saw the escort with Jake try that door going in but it was locked so they used the regular door they had been using all along. Can't miss it!

Hi Mermon - the changes were very slight and were not dialogue changes just small differences in placement and movement of the actors (i.e. the way Jake sits in one scene or if Jake and Annie sit or stand in another). I'm thinking as previews go on the writer & director will make some bigger changes to lead up to the final version on 9/20. Yes, I am going again - I'll be back the weekend it first opens! As far as the tattoos go I couldn't tell what they were as he is constantly moving so it's hard to get a long look at them plus one is mostly hidden under his shirt and just peeks up at his neck. They seemed colorful.

I've sent Kate some more bits so she may post a bit more soon. It's been good to see some pictures and comments from other theater goers on line - I am a bit tired of the theater junkies complaining about his lack of audience interaction outside the theater, though. I was respectful of what he decided to do each time I saw him - it's his life and he needs to live it. Jeez some of these people are irritating with their complaining!!

See you all here again soon I'm sure!! Thanks Kate for all the "reporting" on my behalf - it's been fun! :-)