I’m back!

…with wonderful memories of what was so much more than just a Jake Gyllenhaal encounter (I’ve had a few, actually) but of a much wider and amazing experience. Mind you, to have Jake in your personal space, and more than once, is almost surreal and a crazy experience by itself but seriously, it was way more than just that. 

 

 

 

Jake What I brought home with me is the confirmation – which honestly I didn’t need, but still – that Jake is a truly gifted, impressive, stunning, terrific actor. And we might already have gathered that from all his performances in films but it’s on stage that you can really test an actor bravura and Jake is undeniably superb. The unanimous praise he’s getting is deserved and then some. From the moment that he bursts into the stage Terry grabs your emotional attention and doesn’t let go, by never standing still he gives the play a rhythm that gets more dramatic as the plot unfolds, he’s like a hurricane that hits an apparently tranquil shore that would never be the same after its passage and to do so he makes use of not only animated conversations uttered in a flawless British accent but also of his restless body. His performance throughout the whole play is impeccable and I truly wish we’ll get to see him on stage again because Jake Gyllenhaal on stage is nothing like Jake Gyllenhaal in the movies and if this weren’t an off-Broadway play I could very well see a Tony Award among Jake’s talent many acknowledgments. 

The play. Thinking back to all the reviews I’ve read about it I have to say that some of the tepid ones had a point, in that the play at times lacks of balance. There are indeed four characters on stage but it’s apparent that the play revolves around Terry and Anna’s developing relationship, so much so that when Terry leaves the stage for 15 minutes towards the end of the play the dialogue between George and Fiona gets somewhat flat. It’s not the actors’ fault though, and this is where you realize that the play fails to keep an equilibrium: when the disheveled, scruffy, fidgeting, foul-mouthed and ultimately inconclusive Terry leaves the stage it feels like watching a balloon that slowly deflated. But apart from that, the play is entertaining, thought-provoking, utterly enjoyable and absolutely worth to be seen.

 

Annie Funke  This talented young actress is very brave. I have never had weight problems but I got bullied at school for other reasons and it’s not something that I would ever want to relive and for her to do that day after day, stripping herself almost naked in front of the audience before the pivotal, extremely touching and disturbing scene of the suicide attempt in the tub (amazingly portrayed) well, that’s gutsy. And that’s why I asked her for an autograph, cause this way I would be able to tell her how terrific she was. Which I did, and she seemed very grateful for that.

Brian O’Byrne and Michelle Gomez As I said, it’s not their fault if they don’t get to fully express their talent, which is undoubtedly there. Also, there are long moments in the play where they just sit in the dark while Terry and Anna take the stage but when the focus is back on them they struggle to keep up with the uncle and niece pace. And that’s just too bad because I believe that with a few brush strokes here and there the final painting would have been just perfect.

October 14 I saw the play the first time on Sunday the 14th, a matinée with a scheduled after-show discussion with the actors that was attended that day by Brian and Annie. The first thing I noticed was that the average age of the audience was probably 70, and I was kind of worried cause I thought that maybe older people would have felt uncomfortable with the swearing or the delicate topic of Anna’s crush on her uncle. But from what I managed to eavesdrop at the end of the play they were all positively impressed. There were obviously many youngsters too, mostly Jake fans. The after-show conversation with Brian and Annie was very interesting, most of the audience’s questions referred to the symbolism of the water (someone went even as far as calling it the ‘fifth character of the play’, which I agree upon).

October 17 Since I knew that Jake usually leaves the theater immediately after the play when it’s the matinée and doesn’t stay for the back-door fans, I decided to go back and try my luck again the next Wednesday. I got there an hour before the end of the evening show and stood by the barrier for my first stage-door experience.

 

 

 

Jake was in a good mood, he smiled a lot, took pictures with everyone, signed whatever was put under his nose.

Even this

 

 

…and even if I was saying to him ‘Don’t ever shave’ when I was handing him the photo. Anyway, he chuckled at that. I did, too when I realized I had actually uttered those words.

October 20 I went to see the play again the next Saturday, another matinée with after-show Q&A. I arrived at the theater ahead of time and I was enjoying a cappuccino sitting on the round bench when I saw Michelle Gomez approaching and entering the theater from the main door, followed a few minutes later by Brian.  I thought Jake would get inside the theater from the back so I was really surprised when I looked up and saw him walk right by me just like Michelle and Brian just did, nonchalantly, with his inseparable backpack and Yankee hat. I just watched him walk by, we shared a brief glance, and inside he went. Pretty surreal.

After the play, in which Jake’s performance and the whole ensemble were even more striking, Jake stayed for the talk-back for the first time, along with Brian and Annie. If you know Jake a little, you know that he’s a funny guy. In person, he’s even funnier and more charming, if at all possible. Not to mention jaw-dropping gorgeous. Sorry, I’m digressing.

I was glad that the audience wasn’t focused solely on him, and that Brian and Annie got to reply to many questions. The chemistry among the three of them was clear, they were all very relaxed and paid close attention to the questions they were being asked. As an account of the discussion that followed would obviously contain spoilers, I’ve decided to not post it here, but if you want a more thorough report of it here’s the link to the comments section of GyllenBabble’s website (whom I had the pleasure to meet that day), where you can fulfill your curiosity. 

At the end of the play I got outside and after a short while Jake exited the theater, but he just waved and smiled and then scurried away.

See what I mean when I write about old people in the audience?

Saturday means double performance so I took a stroll around the area, had a late lunch with friends and came back to the theater to resume my place at the barricades for the chance of a few more pictures and another autograph, which I got. Again, he took pictures with everyone and signed autographs with a smile on his face. You could tell that he’s getting good at this back-door fans thing and I believe that he’s enjoying it a lot.

 

 

 

 

I’m not in any of the pictures above, in the remote case that anyone was wondering.

Anyway, as I’m sure you can imagine, I’m a little behind on Jake’s news but I’ll hopefully be able to resume my regular posting schedule in a couple of days.

Whoa, this was an awful long post, sorry for that.

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25 thoughts on “I’m back!

  1. I a bit jealous too. Would love to see him on stage. Its great to hear how much fun you had. Your account on meeting Jake it very different than another we know. In the eye of the beholder :D. Thanks for your review. I also hope that Jake get a tony nod.

  2. I can’t believe you actually apologized for a long post – it was wonderful to read it! I’m so glad you had a great time and maximized your “Jake encounters.” Good to know his accent was “flawless;” it sounded great to me but I’m no expert on British accents. Judging by the accent, where was Terry from? And why did big brother George sound so different – just more educated? I wish I could see the play again, but once must suffice. *sigh* If I ever have another opportunity to seek an autograph, I’m sure I will be a deer in the headlights AGAIN.

    • Thanks Susan! I thought it was too personal a post to be of anyone’s interest, but I wanted to have something written down that I could go back and read at any time, you know, for posterity 🙂

      I actually detected 4 different accents from the four of them, which might have been a trick of either Payne or Longhurst to make the disfunctionality of this family even more apparent. But the difference between George and Terry’s accents was probably also meant to imply a different education.

      • Four different accents from the four actors = disfunctionality — I recall thinking the same thing while I was watching the play, but being unfamiliar with the many variations of British accents, I quickly forgot about it so that I could concentrate on simply understanding what they were saying. Jake tends to talk fast anyway and I didn’t want to miss a single word. It’s a little frustrating to have seen the play only once as I have become accustomed to rewatching movies on disc whenever I feel like it.
        Since you saw it twice, did you notice any differences in the two performances? Nothing major, of course, but did the dialogue change at all or did of the action on stage play out a little differently? I know stage actors try to make each performance fresh and might bring a little different energy to certain aspects of their character from one performance to the next.

      • Actually yes, I did notice slight differences in Terry’s lines and Jake confirmed that during the talk back. But I noticed what I thought was a major difference, and I wanted to ask about that but didn’t have the guts to do so. During the first performance I saw, Anna tries to actually kiss Terry, but Terry steps back. In the second performance Anna only kisses his hand before Terry steps back. I wanted to ask about that, if they thought maybe a kiss, even if only an attempted one, was too strong. They are uncle and niece after all, and Anna is only 15 years old. How did they play this scene when you saw it?

  3. I’m so happy for you! So many Jake’s encounters and a play and so many pictures. You deserved that! I’m happy that you were not disappointed. Sometimes meeting an idol means quitting the idol.
    About Jake & Anna being the most visible for you. Isn’t that because of your focus on Jake? About Anna’s bravery – playing out your complexes or ex school dramas may be very healing, I guess.
    Thank you for your report! For sharing your exciting experience with us.

    • Thanks for sharing my joy, mermon!

      No, I don’t think that the fact that Jake and Annie were the most visible characters had anything to do with the fact that I was focused on Jake (which I was, in a way, but not to the extent that I’d lose my objectivity). I agree that playing a part that brings back hurtful memories can be healing, but it still takes guts.

      I had already met Jake once, so I had no doubt I would enjoy the experience again, especially something like this, seeing him on stage and outside the theater that is, or just walking by me. How could I be disappointed? 🙂

      • It takes guts, for sure. Especially showing oversized body undress. Brave woman. “Anna tries to actually kiss Terry, but Terry steps back. In the second performance Anna only kisses his hand before Terry steps back.” Thanks for sharing that! All these details are so valuable to know!
        You said once that one day you’ll share your first encounter with Jake with us,will you?

      • You have good memory, mermon! 🙂 That encounter was a very private thing and I don’t feel comfortable with sharing it, at least not yet.I hope you understand.

  4. “I wanted to ask about that, if they thought maybe a kiss, even if only an attempted one, was too strong. They are uncle and niece after all, and Anna is only 15 years old. How did they play this scene when you saw it?”

    When I saw it the play was still in previews, but only a few days from opening night. Anna tried to kiss Terry and he pulled back in shock and alarm. I have to say it was one of the moments that made me very uncomfortable and I noticed more than a few others in the audience squirm a bit in their seats. So I don’t think the attempted kiss was thought to be too strong, I think it was meant to be extremely provocative and disturbing considering that they are uncle and niece. I suppose kissing his hand was just part of how they vary things up a little for every performance.

    Can you imagine being that close to Jake and having to “not quite” kiss him? Night after night after night… 😉

    • I agree, that attempted kiss was meant to be disturbing and provocative, that’s why I was surprised to see that in the second performance they changed it in a more polite, less provocative, hand-kissing.

      Not quite kiss him is better than nothing 🙂 I’ll take it.

  5. LOL at the picture with the old lady. It really does represent the afternoon well!

    Loved your report, loved the play, loved seeing Jake, loved hanging out with you. A wonderful day.

  6. Wow! So glad for you. Amazing you got to see the play twice and have two autographs. I’d be levitating like for 3 months after such experiences. LOL. Thanks for sharing it.

  7. Hey! I commented on a post a while back about the play, asking about whether Jake usually came out after the matinees etc!

    Anyway, I finally got my chance to see it on Saturday afternoon (i thoroughly enjoyed it and Jake exceeded my expectations, as he usually does)

    Knowing what everyone said about him not usually coming out I was tempted to just go home and come back after the evening show but when i walked out there was already a couple of people hanging around so i figured i’d give it a go… Thankfully!!!! He ended up coming out about 4.20 and went through to sign just about everyones playbills, he didn’t have much time so when he came around to me i asked if he could take a photo and he kindly obliged but the person taking it accidentally got an awkward zoomed in video haha, but when i asked security to help me out they got him to come back and get a proper photo for me 🙂 🙂

    My friends (who forced me to go alone bc they didn’t care to see him tbh – ?!?!!) decided they wanted to see him after i told them what happened so we all went back the next afternoon, but he left straight away. So!! can’t belive my luck!!!

    Thanks for your advice too, btw! Very worth my trip across the globe!

    • Of course I remember you! I’m so happy that you enjoyed the play and that you got to see him at the stage-door. And you got a photo too, cool!! How nice of him to come back, he truly is a lovely guy, isn’t he? What an amazing experience, I’m sure you’ll keep it among your most treasured. Thanks for sharing your joy with me, I know how you feel 🙂

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