Switch to previous version of Magzter
Sea Wall In The Summertime

Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge in dialogue about taking their conjoined monologues to Broadway.

Jackson McHenry

They headline Sea Wall / A Life, but aside from the curtain call, Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge are never onstage at the same time. But they’ve clearly become friends, joking when I meet them backstage about posing on the sofa in the style of those sultry ads for Burn This with Keri Russell and Adam Driver. As the more established movie star, Gyllenhaal acts a bit like the older brother to Sturridge’s more introverted, fidgety British sibling, though we’re grading on a curve here: They’re both nervous, fidgety people. Also, they are wearing matching gold chains.

The show started at the Public Theater in February and March and now has moved to Broadway with the same director, Carrie Cracknell. In the first of the two monologues, Sea Wall, by Simon Stephens, Sturridge plays a photographer who describes his relationship with his wife and father-in-law; then comes A Life, by Nick Payne, in which Gyllenhaal’s character talks alternately about his father’s illness and his wife’s pregnancy.

Both monologues reveal a tragedy at their centers, which might make them seem like acting exercises. As might getting two actors together to talk about what the other is doing onstage and how each of them got there. One thing Gyllenhaal is sure of is that the show has been subtly enlivened in its transfer. If nothing else, by the weather outside. “People referred to it as ‘stark,’ ” he says. “This show is no longer stark. This show is in the summer!”

TOM STURRIDGE: I want to start with October Sky … [Gyllenhaal’s 1999 breakthrough film role as a coal miner’s son].

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: [Laughs] Can you imagine? By the end of this interview, we’d hate each other.

TS: I don’t know how you came into contact with Nick [Payne].

JG: I went to a reading of a friend’s show, and Lynne Meadow, the artistic director, said, “I’m going to give you a couple of different playwrights that I think you’d be interested in,” and Nick happened to be one of those, and If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet happened to be one of the plays. I immediately fell in love with it. Then, as the universe would have it, the next thing we did was Constellations [also by Payne]. Why did you want to do your piece?

Continue Reading with Magzter GOLD

GoldLogo

Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories and 5,000+ magazines

READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE

August 5-18, 2019

MORE STORIES FROM NEW YORK MAGAZINEView All
Well, Here We Are
New York magazine
10+ mins read
The Voice of a Generation
New York magazine
10+ mins read
Still Gazing in Awe at Jude Law
New York magazine
10+ mins read
Republicans Don't Even Know What They're Covering Up
New York magazine
6 mins read
Peter Thiel's Latest Venture Is the American Government
New York magazine
6 mins read
Medea in Brooklyn
New York magazine
9 mins read
In Conversation: FRANK GEHRY
New York magazine
10+ mins read
Good-bye to Gotham
New York magazine
4 mins read
The Culture Pages – Aidy Bryant – “I'm Not Nice!”
New York magazine
10+ mins read
The Undersung
New York magazine
10+ mins read