Archikulture Digest

Expecting Isabel

Expecting Isabel

By Lisa Loomer

Directed by David Charles

Starring Rachel Comeau and Nicholas D’Alessandro

Annie Russell Theatre, Rollins College

Winter Park, FL

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“Hey! Let’s have a baby!” Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? It is if you want one but if you can’t have one, you may follow this couple’s journey to the depths of despair and bankruptcy as they follow their American Family Dream. The baby idea sprouts in the head of Nick (D’Alessandro)’ an occasionally employed sculptor with a cool wife. That’s Miranda (Comeau); she writes greeting cards for people with dead pets and – gasp! – OWNS a west side of Manhattan apartment with good lighting and a view. She’s cool to Nick’s idea, but after she’s had a year or two of hormonal manipulation to achieve in vitro baby making she’s as fully committed to it as any mom can be. But here’s the raw fact: the baby making industry is there to clean out your bank account and never promises you anything. After they torture Miranda the guns aim at Nick. He must deliver sperm samples on stage only to discover his swimmers can’t pass “The Hamster Test.” Now it’s time for the adoption circus; an equally distasteful world where you pays your money and you takes your chances and anyone from “Mr. Deadbeat Birth Daddy” to Pentecostals can screw you over. At this point I suggest you aim for the golden retriever.

The stage is bright and cheerful; we sense the hipness of Manhattan without any of the dog poop or squeegee boys. Miranda is cool and professional, Nick charming and ineffective as they live this experience of foiled reproduction. Surrounding them is a great cast of character actors: There’s unctuous Dr. John (David Kahn) who smirkingly proposes endless horrible procedures on Miranda and smugly suggests he’d LOVE to create life; Lauren Finn who nailed the Catholic Mom from the Bronx, and brassy Isabell who pops up and tells her erstwhile parent to bugger off, she’s going out for sex and drugs. You work all your life, and yes, this is the thanks you get.

Spirited and engaging, this is a silly little comedy about some serious stuff. I really liked the childless couple and despised all those who wanted to “help” for profit and politics. There’s something interesting happening at all times; writer Loomer does an excellent job of distilling action down to only the good stuff and director Charles fulfils her instructions with charm and wit. While we have no shortage of souls on this planet, yet there’s always a couple who can’t add to the roster but wants to. This show is for them, and for all you young people who don’t appreciate what mom and dad went through for you.

For more information on the Annie Russell Theatre at Rollins College, please visit http://www.rollins.edu/annierussell/current_season/index.html


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