Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy Medium Theatre Company Presents "Baby With The Bathwater" by Christopher Durang

This production of "Baby With The Bathwater," written by Christopher Durang and presented by The Happy Medium Theatre, is neither "Happy" nor "Medium."  It is not Happy because the playwright, Christopher Durang, views the world through a set of lenses that are absurd and slightly misanthropic.  Many of his characters are clearly insane and involve themselves with their world and its inhabitants in ways that are absurd and often cruel.  If "Baby With The Bathwater" were a cocktail, rather than a dark comedy, the recipe would call for an extra dash or two of bitters.  And it is not Medium precisely because it is Well Done!  Working with very difficult material, the cast members all do a very creditable job of projecting the craziness of their characters and their actions.

Durang is poking fun at a wide variety of topics - child-rearing practices of the 1950's, psychotherapy that has no end and seems to have no point, marriages that are loveless and bereft of meaningful communication, gender confusion and the phenomenon of the perpetual college student.  Like Chekhov, Durang often portrays characters who fail to connect with one another - often talking past, over and through each other, screaming at one another or ignoring one another altogether.  While Chekhov gives us characters who are in a cherry orchard, Durang gives us characters who are bananas!

Under the direction of Lizette M.Morris, the cast includes:

Mike Budwey - Daisy
Denise Drago - Helen
Nicole Howard - Nanny, Kate, Principal
Drew Linehan - Cynthia, Angela, Miss Pringle, Susan
Jeremy Towle- John
Deirdre Benson - THE VOICE

Denise Drago as Helen
Jeremy Towle as John
Nicole Howard as Nanny
Photo by Josephine Anes
Helen and John have no clue how to be parents to little Daisy, but the Nanny who comes to help is no Mary Poppins.  No "spoonful of sugar" for this harridan.  She brings a heaping tablespoon full of acid and a voice as soothing as a jet engine.  In like manner, the therapist who sees the grown Daisy hundreds of times offers no relief for his existential despair. And so it goes.  In a showdown with his parents, Daisy challenges his dipsomaniacal father and Mommy Dearest-impersonating mother for the ways in which he was raised.  In Durangville, there are no "Happily Ever Afters," so Daisy marries and begets a child -sending the Merry-go-round on its circular journey as another generation is spawned.

"Baby with the Bathwater" can be seen through this coming weekend at the Factory Theater.  Bring your own Rubber Ducky!



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