This was a shocker!! Neil Labute has written a nice play about fundamentally decent people! Neil Labute has written a romantic comedy! There's no gimmick, no dark con game. No one ends up betrayed or worse.
We've seen the basics of THE WAY WE GET BY before. It's an example of the post-coital genre. The play begins after a couple has had sex and what the audience sees is the couple negotiating a relationship. Do they want the relationship to continue past this sexual episode? Do they know and like each other enough to gamble on love? Most important, do they trust each other? It's typical of Labute's work that we slowly find out more about the couple and their previous relationship. There is a surprising revelation--there always is in a Labute play--but it isn't an awful one. "The way we get by," according to this couple, is the easy way. Do they have the strength to try the more difficult way? This is a slight play, but a charming one.
What makes it special are the performances of the leading actors. I'm a big fan of Thomas Sadoski and he's excellent as the somewhat nerdy, not always articulate man. This is a guy who is not used to taking charge, but who finally does so in surprising burst of eloquence. Sadoski is great at physicalizing every emotion without being the least bit corny. His character can't help revealing every feeling through body language rather than words. I wanted to see THE WAY WE GET BY because Tatiana Maslany of ORPHAN BLACK fame was scheduled to play the woman. Maslany ad to withdraw because of her filming schedule. I had never heard of her replacement, Amanda Seyfried, but she was totally convincing. She's not as good an actor as Sadoski, who's one of the best, but she holds her own. Leigh Silverman has staged and paced the play effectively on Neil Patel's appropriately anonymous set.
THE WAY WE GET BY. Second Stage Theatre. May 16, 2015.