Baby with the Bathwater, a satirical play written by Christopher Durang and directed by Kari Hayter, kicked off Friday at the Cal State Fullerton’s Hallberg Theatre.
The witty and cynical play brings a unique look at family values and childrearing issues.
Background noises of children playing in a playground creates a childish vibe for audience members as they get seated.
The performance starts off with young couple John (played by Stephen Tyler Howell) and Helen (played by Danielle Amick) bringing their newborn child home from the hospital. Immediately, they seem overwhelmed and unprepared.
Deciding to be polite rather than search for evidence of the baby’s sex, the couple assumes the baby is a girl and names her Daisy.
The simple, functional set effectively made use of the small space accurately reflected the hemmed in feeling of the studio apartment.
Durang employs absurd situations like those involving a neurotic drop-in nanny and a child hiding in dirty laundry to present a cautionary warning about negative consequences of refusing to grow up and face responsibility.
Brooke Rogers stole the night with her amazing performance in the role of the Nanny. The Nanny is a maniacal sparkplug of a woman, forceful and strong.
As the play continued Daisy (now at 17) realizes she is actually a he and stops wearing dresses.
Many years of anger, resentment and therapy follow.
The play ends on an emotional and positive note, suggesting maturity and respect can overcome unfit parenting.
Fine acting permeates the production. Hayter convincingly captures the slow unraveling of the immature and easygoing John. A man unprepared for fatherhood or anything else.
The very confused Daisy (and later Alexander) deftly underplays resentment and anger, successfully finding peace in his life.
The program was very helpful for audience members who are not familiar with Durang’s work, providing a synopsis and information about the playwright.
The play is strange from start to end.
Durang invites the audience into the world of the ridiculous and not only asks them to accept it, but to allow the satirical playfulness to reveal another world that is shockingly real.
Audience members see issues that deal with struggling relationships, erratic behaviors, a language that is brutally honest, shameful actions and identities that are challenged, confused or hidden.
The play is full of dark humor that will make the audience wonder if they should be laughing or not, due to the seriousness of some of the issues portrayed.
Baby with the Bathwater is a play that reveals the tensions of modern life.
It talks about serious issues in a ridiculous way and points out the absurdity of everyday life situations.
Hayter did a great job in directing a modern and nontraditional play. The play is an updated version of the 1983 original play.
This play is not supposed to be “normal,” it’s supposed it be out there. And it is. Most of the characters were psychologically and awkwardly disturbed.
Attendees reacted to each character’s witty performances with a sense of shock, laughter and awkwardness.
The great chemistry between characters helped create a sort of realistic angle to the play that helped bring it to life.
Although some of the scenes were a bit lengthy and dragged at times, Hayter did a great job at bringing the witty, comical and cynical to Durang’s play in full detail.
The play brings out realities that people are afraid to face on a normal day basis. It is definitely for the mature audience.
Baby with the Bathwater will be playing at the Hallberg Theatre until Oct. 21.