Baby with the Bathwater

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Red Rock Community College's adaptation of Christopher Durang's play Baby with the Bathwater, directed by James O'Leary, concluded its 8-show run with a sold out finale performance on Sunday April 23rd, 2005.

When the lights came up on the bassinet in the otherwise darkness of the stage, the image more or less stands for everything that follows – childhood, loneliness and abandonment. It seems that an icon of the entire human experience, not just the implied infancy, is being presented. When the lights come up even further, the bassinet gives way in significance to a married couple standing over it: John (Kyle LaBoria), the father that coos at "Daddy's little baked potato," and Helen (Amien Conway), the mother who object to him calling their baby a vegetable.

Durang had an interesting way of making illogical disconnections seem perfectly logical. A good example of this is Nanny. Sweeping onto the stage with demonic energy and a warped tinge of Mary Poppins, Nanny (Nancy Thomas) good-naturedly offers bad advice for child rearing and in the next breath optioning Dad for "quickies in the kitchen." I found Nanny to an existentialist theme in making comments like "There's no such thing as right and wrong. There's just fun." Thomas brought maturity to the otherwise young cast and seemed to thoroughly enjoy her role. Nanny could have been overly campy, but Thomas kept it believable and entertaining and captured the subtle domineering nature of the character.

Whereas Nanny was consistent from beginning to end, I have to convey my disapproval with LaBoria's portrayal of John, the dad. LaBoria aptly depicted the fragility and weariness of a new parent, but failed to reach any depth or humor. I think it would have been better if John had been placed with a more deer-in-the-headlights feel. I saw John more villainous in this rendition and wished for more of a victimized appeal.

This out-sized tale deserved better framework. The set was drab and too...
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