My Battle with Celebrity and a trip off-Broadway


Again I find myself swooning over a man I don’t actually know. I understand that I am not the only one, but obviously the likes of Alec Baldwin, and in this case Jake Gyllenhaal, do not know I exist. It is all in vain.

This recurring theme with me and the celebrities is a constant battle. I struggle constantly with the knowledge that these people are just like you or I, but then my heart leaps at the sight of them and I must have their signature (or some such interaction. Indeed a smile would suffice). For example, I come out of a theatre and am strangely compelled to lie in wait for their exit and then what? For the empty smile as they perform their perceived duty: signatures and posing for photos? For the possibility that they may befriend me as their new BFF? Do I really believe that is an option?

Jake Gyllenhaal: my new BFF?

Yeah, I think I do. On some level at least. I honestly think that one day I will be discovered by a “celeb” and probably spend hours discussing Gilbert Grape with Leo in his Upper Westside apartment. Or go bear hunting with Maximus (and by hunting I mean finding and then running away and leaving Russ to wrestle with it for a while), as I imagine that is what he gets up to in his spare time. Or hang out with Kevin Spacey. I would call him Kev. We would go for walks discussing new plans to bring theatre to the masses.

Delusional can be cute right?

Well anyway. I know they are just normal people and Mr Jake Gyllenhaal probably doesn’t always want the crazy adoration I witnessed last night after his play off-Broadway, but when he wandered out of the stage door my heart and eyes just lit up. A rugged beard and big arms and you likely don’t need an Oscar to impress me.

PS “If there is I haven’t found it yet” is playing at the Roundabout Theatre just off Broadway. If you are under 30, as winner and I are, you get tickets for just $22 all in. The theatre is intimate and so the back row of the mezzanine offers prime viewing of that hair flicking jarhead. Boy does he have a good head of hair on him.

Now about the play.

I found the staging to be the most impressive. Water, water, everywhere.

A moat-ish pool surrounds the front of the stage and at the centre of the dry space stands a disordered arrangement of household pieces: a fridge, a bed, shelves and tables. As the play progresses, with Tony-award winning Irishman O’Byrne (George) neglecting his family, each piece is brought forth to define the space and then discarded violently in the body of water before them. Chaos is spreading.

Climate change is George’s mission. He wants to inform the public, through his book, that the world is doomed if we don’t buck up our ideas. He wants to show them the world we will be left with if we continue on our selfish path to destruction.

But in the meantime his daughter (Annie Funke) is overweight and bullied. His wife (Gomez) is lonely and frustrated. His brother (Gyllenhaal), who arrives unannounced at curtains up, attempts to warn him, inarticulately, that the world might be on a course for disaster, but there are some issues much closer to home that he probably needs to deal with.

As the play builds to its climax we see the whole stage flooded and the actors sploshing about in fun a metaphor for melted ice caps, I presume. Gyllenhaal was fidgety, aggressive and an unlikely role model for his niece. O’Byrne is wonderfully bumbling, in the way professors always are. And Anna, his troubled daughter, is brave, believable and worrying. I was concerned I was going to see something sinister as she spiralled out of control and I was not to be disappointed?

In summary: thoroughly entertaining and some great English accents on show.

My only concern is for the actors. At the end of the show’s 13 week run there is a distinct possibility of trench foot.


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