Significant Other marks playwright Joshua Harmon’s return to Roundabout following the success of his breakthrough hit Bad Jews. Warm, hilarious, and uncompromisingly honest, Significant Other takes us into the single life of late-twenties Jordan Berman as he confronts the limits of friendship, the inscrutabilities of dating, and the loneliness of adulthood.
Below, in the first installment of our Read/Watch&Listen/Do lists, you’ll find reading material to immerse yourself in the world of the play and playwright.
by Wendy Wasserstein
Wendy Wasserstein is one of Significant Other playwright Joshua Harmon’s favorite writers. Of her work, he has said, “she is the master of the holy trinity of playwriting—personal, funny, and emotional.” Isn’t It Romantic, Wasserstein’s 1983 play about two friends striving for stable adulthood (and the careers and relationships that go along with it) in New York City was a strong influence on Significant Other. A quote from Isn’t It Romantic’s Janie Blumberg appears as an epigraph at the beginning of Significant Other. The line points to Jordan Berman’s preoccupation with romantic perfection on a deadline: "When I'm twenty-eight, I'm going to get married and be very much in love with someone who is poor and fascinating until he's thirty and then fabulously wealthy and very secure after that. And we're going to have children who wear overalls and flannel shirts and are kind and independent, with curly blond hair. And we'll have great sex and still hold hands when we travel to China when we're sixty."
“Love is Not All (Sonnet XXX)”
Jordan, who laments the fact that he’s become “the constant reader” at the weddings of his friends, quotes a line from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s (“she’s a killer”) classic poem “Love is Not All.” Presumably, Jordan read the poem at Vanessa’s wedding.
Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution’s power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.
by Joshua Harmon
Familiarize yourself with more of the Joshua Harmon oeuvre! Bad Jews premiered in the Roundabout Underground in 2012 and became the first Underground production to transfer upstairs to the Laura Pels Theatre in 2014. In the aftermath of their grandfather’s death, three cousins (and one unsuspecting girlfriend) engage in a battle for their grandfather’s chai, a priceless family heirloom that has come to represent the varied truth and tenacity of each grandchild’s faith. By turns uproariously funny, cruel, and thoughtful, the play went on to be the third most-produced play of the 2014-2015 American theatre season and is running on London’s West End through July.
by Debra Witt (Bridal Guide)
Whether you’re planning your own fete or looking forward to (or dreading) the nuptials of your friends and family, this 2015 guide to the hottest wedding trends will help you prepare. Wedding and event planners around the country chime in on the latest celebratory preferences, from invites and floral arrangements to drink menus and cake.
by Gordon W. Prange
If you’re a history buff like Jordan’s crush/obsession Will (or if you just want to be seen reading something impressive around the office), this definitive 1981 tome on the bombing of Pearl Harbor is your go-to. At 981 pages, the (non-fiction) book is an authoritative and detailed account of events, drawing on Prange’s personal interviews with US and Japanese sources to construct a 360-degree perspective on the preparation for and aftermath of the attack.
Significant Other is a limited engagement at the Laura Pels Theatre. For more information and tickets, visit our website.
2014-2015 Season, Significant Other