A conversation with Jake
Very interesting conversations with Jake, director Michael Longhurst, playwright Nick Payne and set designer Beowulf Boritt have been posted on the The Roundabout Theater Company’s blog. It’s good to know more about the play and Jake’s character, very few information had been shared up until now. I just wish Mr. Ted Sod – the Education Dramaturg who interviewed these fine people – didn’t ask Jake that Same. Old. Question. Again. But thanks to this interview now we know that Jake watches kitties yawning on You Tube (and don’t you all feel better now? just kidding, folks).
A few excerpts:
TS: What drew you to If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet?
JG: Terry is like de Tocqueville. He comes into this family and he observes and comments on what he sees. I love the character of Terry and I loved Nick Payne’s writing. It was that simple. And when I went to see Michael Longhurst’s production of Nick’s other play, Constellations, at the Royal Court in London, the deal was sealed. They are an unbeatable pair. They are the new generation of British theatre talent.
TS: How do you keep yourself inspired? What feeds you as an artist?
JG: Variation keeps me inspired. I always like finding roles that are different from the one I played before. And I love playing intentions in scenes differently every night on stage and in every take on a movie. I always try and challenge myself and surprise my fans. It makes it fun for everyone.
TS: What do you think the play is about?
ML: For me, the implied question the title answers is, “Is there a right way to live?” I think the play explores how hard it is to find a balance both at the micro (familial) and macro (global) level. Essentially, it’s about a good family trying hard but still really struggling. It also explores how much we’re able to change as people.
TS: How have you collaborated with playwright Nick Payne on this project?
ML: We took the opportunity to really go over his script to hone any moments that could be exploited for any further dramatic potential (and have also had some great suggestions from the cast). We also decided to update some of the climate change references, as it’s a field that is moving so quickly.
TS: What did you look for when casting this play?
NP: I love casting – and casting this production was huge fun. Jake was first. Of course I was familiar with his film work (I had particularly admired his work in Jarhead and Zodiac). And although I’m sorry to say that I missed his performance in This Is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan in London, the play’s director – Laurence Boswell – had mentioned to me in passing that Jake was one of the most natural stage actors he had ever worked with. Then came Michelle, who I was familiar with from her various television roles (she’s brilliant and sharp and extremely funny). Then Brian, and then Annie. Again, I’m sorry to say that I’ve never seen Brian on stage, but was familiar with his film and television work (precise, deeply engaging and, again, very funny). And Annie I’m excited to say I met through the audition process.
TS: How does your design incorporate the play’s global warming theme?
BB: The frame of the play is global warming and that we’re approaching a tipping point. And science tells us, if we keep doing the things we’re doing, the world’s going to end essentially, or become unlivable. Obviously, there’s this debate about whether it’s true or not, but I think the large part of the intelligent community accepts that it’s happening and yet we don’t seem to be doing anything to stop it. And that’s ultimately what the play’s about, I think, with the family relationships as the metaphor for that. At the same time that these people are trying to be ecologically aware, they’re letting their own family go to hell, and they’re blissfully unaware of what’s going on with their teenage daughter.
BB: Anna feels to me like she is the principal character. I think it’s about four people, but she is the central character. I would say she’s the global warming symbol in the play. She is the symbol of the living earth that goes over a tipping point. Suddenly something radical and awful happens. So that moment in the play happens, and then the set radically changes on a dime at that moment. But it’s something that, when it happens, feels like, “Oh my god, I’ve seen this coming all along, and yet I didn’t see it coming.” Which is, dramatically, what I loved about the play.
More interesting insights in the blog post.
And in case you missed this pic yesterday, here it is again (from the NYT)
I think I need to add another countdown calendar on my main page along with that for End Of Watch.