And Baby Makes Seven
And Baby Makes Seven
By Paula Vogel
Directed by Julia Allardice Gagne
Valencia Character Company
I’m sure there’s a porn site for this somewhere, but I’m not brave enough to Google it. Ruth (Ashleigh Ann Gardner) and Anna (Samantha Faith O’Hare) are a couple, and when they want a child, they turn to Peter (Michael Martin) for support and sperm. The three live together for the best interest of the fetus, but to pass the time, the girls pretend to be a trio of prepubescent boys. Ruth is a bit butch, so she covers French transplant Henri as well as the raised-by-feral-dogs Orphan McDermott. Since Anna has a real child pending, she only performs the genius Cecil. Peter somehow puts up with this chaotic and sexless household, but at some point he puts his foot down and the trio agree to kill off their fantasy crotch spawn.
Slipping seamlessly between theatrical reality and an absurdism of the highest order, this cast takes a complete bizarre conceit and turns it into a completely plausible dysfunctional family. Martin’s Peter merely seems longsuffering until he contracts a case of fantasy rabies, and pulls off one of the most unexpected and compelling transformations I’ve ever seen. Ruth seems to be the provocateur in this game of displaced reality, and refuses to let the imaginary kids fade away without sucking the last bit of fantasy from them. If there a calm center in this story, its Anna, who seems capable of a pregnant glow without the bother of ever have to have sexual relations. She also pulls of the flat out funniest line in the play when she tells the other to “Suck her imaginary dick.”
While absurdism so often pulls you into the inexplicable, then steals your passport and runs off into the night, this gem makes the whole story as believable as Disney’s version of pirates or life-size animated vermin. There’s a complete logic to the action, and while motivation is obscured, the entire process feels as natural as slipping into an on line gaming profile and beheading a virtual dragon. I just suspect baby Nathan will spend his life in therapy or modern dance, or both.
For more information on Valencia Character Company, please visit http://valenciacc.edu/theater/