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September 12, 2012

ALBEE'S THE PLAY ABOUT THE BABY. COMPELLING!

THE PLAY ABOUT THE BABY
 
 
 
Pictured: Linda Ayres-Frederick & Richard Aiello



 

On the stage -- appears a couple named Boy and Girl. They are young, good looking and run around on the stage naked and half-naked, and what clothes they do wear are very scanty. Now that should enthrall you. 

They are in love. Think about Adam and Eve without the apple. They love to talk about each other’s rather curvy bodies. They want a baby. They have a baby (maybe) – it’s birth is offstage, so how do we know if that is a baby in that blanket? We never see it.

Then approaches an older Man and Woman. They kinda take over the stage. Well, not kinda they literally take over the stage. They both are funny, engaging and a little bit scary. The Boy and Girl at first are bemused -- by the older couple. The older woman even tries to seduce the young man. But, then there is the baby thing. The older couple -- have come to get the baby. Is there really a baby? Why does the older couple want the Baby? Who knows? But in the Theatre of the Absurd (Albee) – the audience is enthralled, but very puzzled. Who wouldn’t be? Lots of questions need to be answered here.

 Comparisons are frowned upon but one can’t help noticing recycled elements from other Albee plays. A Mature couple show up & disrupt a household as in “A Delicate Balance.” A young couple interacts, with an older couple. A Baby may be imaginary, As in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

If the baby is imaginary, how did the father witness the birth and how does the audience hear it crying? But then suddenly --the Baby has vanished – or it seems to vanish. No one ever presents the Baby.

Yes, it’s a puzzle, but the sparkling language (very witty) keeps the light in the darkness. You will just have to listen intently to Albee’s blackly comic text.

The set design is dazzling. There is even a Tiny little Chair for the Baby to sit on, that we never really see. We do see the chair, but not the Baby. However, the atmosphere gives us a distinct passionate chill. As always – it’s Albee creepy.

Everything depends on the Actors, the lighting design, plus dramatic entrances and exits. You may blush about the nudity – but be brave, you will get used to flesh…it’s Pinkish.

HERE’S WHAT I THINK: The Actors are “Awesome!” They are Anya Kazmierski (Girl), Shane Rhoades (Boy), Richard Aiello (Man) and Linda Ayres-Frederick*. Especially good are Aiello and Ayres-Frederick. What a team. They deserve a couple of Oscars - if I had them. But then, I could just be caught up in Albee’s vision. Yes, I am a little on the crazy side.

ALSO SUPERB IS – Director, Brian Katz, Stage Manager, Colin Johnson, Scenic Design, Sarah Phykitt, Lighting Design, Dena Burd, Costumes/Props – Maxx Kurzunski, Original Composition – Liz Ryder and Fight Choreography – Jon Bailey. “What a show! – “Wonderful and imaginative!” 

NOW PLAYING AT THE GOUGH STREET PLAYHOUSE (Custom Made Theatre)

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked- 

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he produced and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))

 

 

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