New York | 1h 20m | Already closed

The Way We Get By

From 19 critic and 17 member reviews
Members say: Delightful, Clever, Absorbing, Entertaining, Disappointing

About the show

Amanda Seyfried makes her NYC stage debut at Second Stage in a world premiere by Neil LaBute, about a one night stand between two guests at a wedding. More…

Meet Beth and Doug: two people who have no problems getting dates with their partners of choice. What they do have, however, is the aftermath of one hot night together. Forced to question how much they really know about each other and how much they care about what other people think, the two face a very awkward encounter revolving around love, lust and the whole damn thing.


"What we cannot guess, however, is how viscerally romantic, how almost shockingly sensitive, even, dare we say it, sweet, the next 85 minutes will turn out to be. Suffice it to say that the fling between Doug and Beth will have complications in the hours before dawn and that - LaBute being LaBute - hurtfulness will be part of the surprise...For LaBute, dares here to explore less obviously explosive territory. Yet, somehow, this daring feels deep." Full Review

The Associated Press

"Mining the comedy in an awkward morning-after situation between a hung-over young man and woman, who apparently fell into bed together after a wild wedding reception, would seem like a natural for acerbic playwright Neil LaBute. Yet his new comedy, 'The Way We Get By' has an unexpected sweetness, along with a twist that heightens the suspense as to whether the couple in question will embark on a romance or not." Full Review


"Leigh Silverman directs both actors with precision, helping them extract the sincerity and poignancy of one of Neil LaBute’s most simplistic and best works ever." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"As in other LaBute stories, these characters arrive fully formed and ready for full frontal heart to heart combat. Over the course of 80 or so minutes that fly by, LaBute turns up the temperature incrementally. He gives his characters time to listen, parry, act and react. He gives us time to be drawn into the basement of their story – which is where we want to be...And it is totally worth the watch. Bravo." Full Review


"The beguiling comedy takes place in the wee hours of the morning, after Beth and Doug, two attractive people of around 30, have had sex for the first time.'The Way We Get By' is a tightly focused, slender piece, with just the two characters. But the actors make it a very appealing journey...The evening offers evidence that people can change radically: I never thought I'd see the play in which Neil LaBute comes down on the side of Cupid." Full Review


"The production values are typically top notch as everything at Second Stage tends to be. Director Leigh Silverman sees to it that there's as much movement as possible in this talky play that can't avoid having the actors too often standing and facing each other. And Mr. La Bute proves that beneath all that darkness, beats the heart of genuine romantic." Full Review


"Breathing with a newfound fullness, the slight comedy suddenly takes on a more robust presence as the passive what are we now? conversation subtly veers into an elegy for the elusive choice to be happy. It's a decision we are all often too scared to make, but in a turn of romantic optimism, LaBute proposes that just maybe one earth-shaking evening in a Manhattan high-rise with the right person can inspire a change of both heart and nerve — cultural norms be damned." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"The writer who has been called 'America’s misanthrope par excellence' appears to have had a change of heart when it comes to matters of the same organ. 'The Way We Get By' feels like a refreshingly sunnier and more hopeful LaBute, with moments that feel suspiciously like giddy joy." Full Review

USA Today

"'Get By' can be slow going...Their inability to communicate, while funny in spurts, threatens to grow tiresome...This being a LaBute play, the characters inevitably become more blunt and biting as they struggle to connect. And, as usual, the playwright has something bigger in mind than the ways in which men and women hurt each other." Full Review

The New York Times

"Slight but spirited...There are several good reasons to see the show (it’s short, it’s sexy, it’s starry, it’s well acted) and others not to (it’s contrived, it’s manipulative and even at 70 minutes, too long for its limited purposes). Your call." Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

"Beth and Doug’s halting conversation drains away interest as fast as Doug drains that bottle of water. But narrative intrigue is replenished by the revelation that the two in fact know each other from years before. How they reconnect after belatedly acknowledging that fact brings this 85-minute evening to its conclusion." Full Review

New York Post

"A bigger issue is how annoying they are...The show, ably directed by Leigh Silverman, hinges on whether Beth and Doug will decide to grow up — and whether they’ll do it together. The only thing for sure is that they’re likely to keep yammering on." Full Review

As Her World Turns

"I’ve never seen a Neil LaBute play until now...Slowly (perhaps too slowly) layers of their backstory are revealed and we find out just why Thomas’s character is so reluctant to jump into a relationship with someone who is clearly the woman of his dreams. Their love story is most unusual (no spoilers here), and that twist makes this play slightly more intriguing than a typical romance with complications." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"LaBute doesn't develop his provocative premise in particularly interesting fashion. Much of the dialogue about the couple's concern over reactions of their friends and family should they decide to take the relationship further proves banal and repetitive. Still, the playwright's gift for amusing banter is very much on display, garnering more than a few laughs with running gags...A feel-good, happy ending that at least doesn't send us out with a sour taste in our mouths." Full Review

New York Daily News

"LaBute, the master of corrosive misoygny, has become a sweet fool for love. Tentative embraces and pussyfooted retreats underscore the rom-com textures. Then, at the one-hour mark in this 85-minute Second Stage production, reality bites. He’s up to up to his time-tested switcheroos. It also sinks the show." Full Review

AM New York

"There is a plot twist which reveals that their relationship is actually quite complicated, but it adds little to this 90-minute play, which has all the sustenance of 90 empty calories. It appears as if LaBute intended it to serve as the template for a meandering discussion about sex and societal expectations...Under Leigh Silverman's direction, Sadoski and Seyfried deliver over-the-top performances that reflect the one-dimensional natures of their characters." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"Neil LaBute’s latest disappointing mousetrap...I felt just like Doug for much of the play: So tell me then. Come on. Please. And yet, when LaBute responded to my mute screams, I quickly began to wish he hadn’t. If the setup were monumentally entertaining and the payoff profoundly engrossing, a trick like this might work, but the setup here is barely bearable. The payoff is nonexistent. Or rather, it is trite, a perfunctory wave at carpe diem." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Most of the play consists of loud bickering and small-talk filler. This is meant to suggest a morning-after dance of negotiations, but while it’s nice to see LaBute working in a less misanthropic mode than usual, the characters are drawn too sketchily to support it, and the actors have little chemistry... Even as LaBute fills in their history, their present stays flat. The play is a glazy cruller: one big twist with a hole in the middle." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"This two-character drama, set the morning after the night before, has perhaps 10 minutes of substantive conversation — some of it about Smartwater...Would it kill these people to say what they mean? Fluently? much can you do with a play this middling, this contentless? The comedy isn’t as miserabilist as some of LaBute’s work, but it is insipid and trivial. As Beth might say, it’s kinda like whatever." Full Review

Romantic, Funny, Quirky, Delightful, Clever

See it if you like a quirky story with a twist

Don't see it if you don't like family type drama plays

Romantic, Clever, Funny, Refreshing, Quirky

See it if you like Neil LaBute shows or twenty-something "morning after" stories

Don't see it if you like shows that are dark and edgy or don't like romantic comedies

Original, Thought-provoking, Clever

See it if Clever premise with solid acting

Don't see it if Bit slow at times

Slow, Funny, Entertaining, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like amanda seyfried

Don't see it if you want something straightforward

Intense, Great acting, Entertaining, Delightful, Clever

See it if Terrific performances by the talented leads.

Don't see it if The story doesn't really know how to end.

Mediocre, Disappointing

See it if You like shows about relationships that have both comedic and dramatic moments or if you're a fan of Niel Labute.

Don't see it if You don't like 2 person shows or are expecting much from it. The show is nice, at times its a bit slow, the twist was a bit of a let down

Raunchy, Excruciating, Cliched

See it if you want a relationship play.

Don't see it if you are very uncomfortable with incestual relationships.

Raunchy, Absorbing, Ambitious, Original, Slow

See it if you're interested in contemporary plays & enjoy stories about complex family relationships.

Don't see it if you want something fast paced, don't enjoy the slow burn or discovery of the characters' pasts, or don't like tug-and-pull story telling.

Disappointing, Confusing, Entertaining

See it if you like the actors. It's entertaining but not great. It's not painful...

Don't see it if you expect a thrilling plot.

Relevant, Disappointing

See it if If you like plays about messed up relationships. I used to like everything by Neil until I saw All the ways to say I love you.

Don't see it if you don't like Neil type plays. It about a messed up relationship. I love the topic, this was good not great.

Great writing, Clever, Delightful, Confusing, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a thought provoking show about a relationship

Don't see it if see it!

Edgy, Entertaining, Quirky

See it if This show was funny and entertaining, even if not revelatory (for me, at least).

Don't see it if You are sensitive to gratuitous profanity and sexual subject matter

Edgy, Great acting, Clever

See it if You like fast-paced dialog and complicated relationships.

Don't see it if You dislike Neil LaBute.

Disappointing, Confusing, Cliched

See it if Did not stay

Don't see it if Slow


See it if Love it

Don't see it if Loved it

Funny, Exquisite, Delightful, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if the dancing

Don't see it if you don't like noise

Delightful, Banal, Absorbing, Dated, Entertaining

See it if Nothing else around

Don't see it if If you have tickets to something else

Cast & Creatives

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