by Nancy Holley
Special KRL coupon code at the end of this article.
Christopher Durang’s Baby with the Bathwater demonstrates the truth of the proverb that one needs to be able to distinguish the important from the unimportant, particularly when parenting. “It’s absolutely hilarious,” notes Director Elicia Russell with excitement. “It is so far-fetched and yet realistic.
Durang, a champion of witty satire, examines through extremes the fallacies that parents can interpret as truths. Since all of us have been parented, everyone can relate to the ridiculousness and humor of the actions taken by Durang’s characters. Baby with the Bathwater features eleven zany characters who can be portrayed by five to eleven actors. Russell chose eight actors to showcase the Visalia Players’ talent because “I had awesome people audition!”
Corey Ralston, no stranger to the Ice House – both on and off stage, is John, the well-intentioned, but inept father. Ralston commented “they were happy before the baby, but when they bring the baby home, their relationship starts to breakdown.” He indicated that the play shows how “bringing a child into your life changes every aspect of your being.”
Helen, John’s wife, is aptly portrayed by Rachel Sievers-Herrera. Herrera loves Durang’s plays. She had a significant role in Durang’s Beyond Therapy in a previous season at the Ice House. “Helen is by far the most challenging character I’ve ever played. She is a non sequitur – moods and thoughts come from nowhere and dissipate just as quickly.”
When John and Helen bring the baby home, help is needed – enter Nanny (Cymone Sandoval). Sandoval describes Nanny as a “crazed Mary Poppins.” Sandoval also is Angela, one of the mothers in the park. Thus, she has to be an insane 50 year-old woman one minute and a perhaps less insane mother of 30 the next. “As an actor, I love the boomerang of going from older to younger to older.”
Marisela Gomez identifies her two characters, Kate and Miss Pringle, as “two of maybe three sane characters in the play.” Gomez is excited about the show and the challenge posed by her characters. “Everyone here is crazy so how am I supposed to counteract that and still be funny?”
The baby grows up during the play and has issues at school. His teacher Miss Pringle tries to explain to the principal Mrs. Willoughby (Robin Hoffman) that Daisy is very troubled. Mrs. Willoughby is too self-absorbed to listen.
The audience finally sees Daisy (Henry Gonzales) as a teenager in therapy. Gonzales notes, “surprisingly Daisy is very well rounded for the parents he had, even though he keeps running out in front of buses.” His therapist (Sergio Garza) may not agree since Daisy’s been in therapy for 10 years!
Lindsay Tweed’s two characters also provide an acting challenge. Initially, she is Cynthia a very odd creature who appears and disappears without notice – at one point attempting to steal the baby. In the end, she is the relatively normal wife of Daisy.
The cast and director emphasize the humor and cleverness of the dialogue. Gonzales wrapped their thoughts together with “the wit is what draws me – the way that the laughter comes from everyday situations. They may seem absurd, but you read about them in the paper all the time.”
On Sunday March 8 after the matinee, “Back Stage at the Ice House” will be hosted by Sharon DeCoux, a veteran Visalia Player. Audience members will have an opportunity for a behind the scenes look at the show and the opportunity to ask questions and interact with cast/crew.
Baby with the Bathwater opens at the Ice House Theater at Race and Santa Fe in Visalia at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 27, 2015 and runs for three weekends with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on 2/27, 2/28, 3/6, 3/7, 3/13, and 3/14 and matinees at 2:00 p.m. on 3/1, 3/8, and 3/15. Note: The play includes adult language.
For more information about the Visalia Community Players and to purchase tickets, check out their website and KRL’s article about VCP. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 734-3900. For details about local arts groups in Tulare County, visit the Visalia Arts Consortium website.
Check out more local theatre reviews this week right here in KRL & even more theatre reviews & articles in our Arts & Entertainment section!
To purchase two tickets for the price of one, enter KRLBWB in the Have a code? box on the Buy/Redeem Tickets Reservation page via the Players website.