The U.S. premiere of Nick Payne’s “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet” is extending production by two weeks at the Laura Pels Theatre. The Roundabout Theatre Company production was originally set to run through November 25, 2012. Following a 12 day hiatus, performances will resume December 8 and continue through December 23, 2012.
TicketNews® announced the opening of the production in an article earlier this year.
The production is also replacing the role of the busy over-worked Mom Fiona. Tony Award nominee Enid Graham (Broadway’s “Honour,” “Dinner at Eight”) will take the place of Michelle Gomez, starting on October 23. Michael Longhurts will direct the rest of the original cast including: Annie Funke as the teen Anna; Jake Gyllenhaal as Uncle Terry; and Brian F. O’Byrne as Dad George.
The comedy drama is about a family who has to deal with its dysfunctions and either sink or swim. Drifter Uncle Terry comes to visit a family who doesn’t even recognize its world is falling apart. 15-year-old Anna is heavily picked on at school because of her weight; her Dad neglects her, and her Mom is overbearing. As a result, Anna is miserable, but her charismatic and foul-mouthed Uncle gives her some hope. Anna’s Dad, an environmental activist named George, is feverishly writing a doomsday book about global warming, and the more he prophesizes, the more the family is drowning in this story of destruction.
The message of the play is: how can the whole world be saved when a family can’t even save its own little world? Jeremy Gerard of Bloomberg.com said, “The statement seems to be that our emotional imprint is as fraught and damning as our carbon footprint.”
Set designer Beowulf Borritt symbolically uses the set to show the theme throughout the play. “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet” begins with a pile of furniture at the center of the stage. Rain constantly falls into a river that goes around the front of the stage. An actor will pick up a piece of furniture and throw it into the river after the end of a scene. As the play goes and emotions swirl, the water rises until there is a flood around the actors’ ankles for the last few scenes of the play.
The use of the water evokes a few interpretations of the symbolism. Carrey Pursell of Huffington Post says, “…not only could it represent global warming but also the way this family is drowning in their sorrows or even the cleansing effects of water symbolizing a rebirth of this fragmented family — one has to question if it was actually necessary or if the play could have stood on its own.” In the original London production, the water was not used. Some reporters have also said the water was just a big distraction, making them curious about the poor stage crew who has to clean up later.
According to some reviews of the production, the play delivers a moving message though many reporters have said the play has been over-done. Some of the intended meaning of the play may have become muddled in the water, but many reporters have reported the acting as outstanding, especially film star Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal’s stage debut charms the audience with his contrasting role of humor and grief.
David Rooner, of HollywoodReporter.com said, “…the play seems more interesting on the page than onstage…” Only time will tell how the two extended weeks will be received.
For more information on “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet” visit: RoundAboutTheatre.org.