If Annie Hall, yearning to become a momma, had outsourced her pregnancy to India while slogging through chemo, she’d likely have resembled Robyn (Annie Meisels), the chatty, self-psychologizing darling of There or Here, the Hypothetical Theatre Company’s dramedy of marriage, illness, culture clash, and transplanted zygotes. Like Annie, Meisels exudes an ineffable charm, but her psychoanalytic streak sadly becomes a burden: Flummoxed by cancer and marital strife, Robyn grasps at meaning with a Freud-meets-Tyra brand of analysis.
There or Here may believe too heartily that every painful snag of the soul can be teased smooth, sometimes via tête-à-têtes with phone-sex operators, fast-food clerks, urchins, and Apple tech support. But to Maisel’s credit, no scene, however agonized, feels purposeless. Robyn does have lots to mope about—what with the cancer, the missed flights out of India, the surrogate mother on the lam, etc. But, thankfully, Maisel peppers the angst-pot with humor: In one scene, a cell-phone salesman iChats up Robyn’s mother while she’s in the bath. On a beautiful set (which looks appropriately vaginal), director Amy Feinberg’s ensemble ultimately excels in delivering Maisel’s humor, despite those self-help labor pains.