Saturday, September 29, 2012

Off-Broadway: If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet

If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
Roundabout at the Steinberg Center
written by Nick Payne
directed by Michael Longhurst
Thursday, Sept. 27

British director Michael Longhurst and designer Beowulf Borritt have placed a neat junkpile centerstage for If There Is…. To define a scene's location, the actors pull a fridge, a TV, or a bike from the pile. Scene over, the furniture gets shoved into a water tank at the footlights. It's all part of the consumer culture that's clogging up the environment, and also part of the mess that the play's characters have made for themselves. For If There Is… is another drama where a feckless relative visits a stressed-out family to egg along the crisis.

Cast in that catalytic role, film actor Jake Gyllenhaal takes the Brando approach to stagework, disappearing fully into the part by burying himself under fussy, tic-filled physicality. In response, the rest of the cast gives Kim Hunter-like performances, quieter but stronger and more subtle. Their psychological realism lends substance to the underwritten characters. The effectiveness of the production almost masks the conventions of the script. But If There Is… is the same realistic, episodic family drama that Off-Broadway companies always produce.


If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet plays at the Steinberg Center, closing on November 25. Tickets?


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