Entertainment » Theatre

The Play About the Baby

by Michelle  Sandoval
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Sep 21, 2016
Philip Orazio, Allison Blaize, Sam Anderson and Taylor Gilbert
Philip Orazio, Allison Blaize, Sam Anderson and Taylor Gilbert   

Edward Albee was a treasure to the theatre community. His sudden passing last week was a shock to many, but his work and contributions will live on, keeping his spirit alive through the words he wrote and the characters he created.

I was honored to attend his "The Play About the Baby," last Friday, a rare exclusive of one of his lesser-known productions. Equal parts touching and disturbing, the exemplary show offers Los Angeles theatre goers the opportunity to bid farewell to one of America's great playwrights.

Playing at The Road Theatre Company in North Hollywood, and granted the rights by Albee himself, the show could not have found a better home. Artistic Directors Taylor Gilbert and Sam Anderson wish to "challenge, provoke and inspire in 2016/2017," and, along with director Andre Barron, bring the opening of the theatre's 26th season to an explosive start. "The Play About the Baby" will delve deep into the dark corners of your mind and make you question the boundaries of perceptibility.

The show centers on a young couple, a Girl (Allison Blaize) and a Boy (Philip Orazio), who have just brought home their new baby and are on top of the world with happiness. Living in what almost seems like a dream, the two's perfect little world soon begins to shatter when a mysterious Man (Anderson) and Woman (Gilbert) enter their lives and steal their baby. A myriad of mind-games and connivances by the older two get woven into a web of puzzles that leaves them questioning their sanity and ultimately their sense of reality.

Blaize and Orazio paint a pretty picture of young love, bursting with innocence and passion. As the play progresses and we start to see that spiral into despair we, as an audience, feel their emotion and share in their fear. Grief, and the loss of bliss and innocence drip from their every word and movement in the second act, with performances that will haunt you long after the curtain closes.

It is always a pleasure to see the mastery of both Anderson and Gilbert. In "The Play About the Baby" their presence is profound as they deliver stellar performances cloaked in menace and mystery. They spew countless puzzling anecdotes and stories that leave much to be deciphered by both the young couple and the audience, all the while bewitching us with their twisted tongues. They brought the poetry and madness of Albee's words to life on stage, in a moving execution of fervent talent.

The set, space and costumes are minimal in this show. Sarah B. Brown (scenic design), Michele Young (costume design) and Bettina Zacar (prop design) used the aspects of a chamber play to create scenes that were reliant on the actors. Set simplicity was key here, leaving the characters responsible for creating the atmosphere in their environment. The starkness on stage served well as it helped everyone shine.

"The Play About the Baby" will leave you with questions about love, relationships, loss and many, many other things. It will move you and stay with you far beyond the closing scene. This is what I love about live theatre, how special works can invoke deep emotion and thought that other mediums cannot. The show blends humor and fear in a way that will very likely leave you disturbed, but disturbed in a way you will very much welcome.

"The Play About the Baby" extends through December 10 at The Road Theatre, 10747 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. For tickets or information, call 818-761-8838 or visit www.roadtheatre.org.

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