IAMA Theatre Company brings us “Untitled Baby Play” at Atwater Village Theatre.
By Carol Edger Germain
Written by Nina Braddock, directed by Katie Lindsay, and performed by six outstanding and evenly talented actors, the play presents a universal situation experienced by women usually in their 20’s and 30’s – supporting your best girlfriends first during their weddings and then some of them a few years later at their first baby showers.
It is an insightful look into that stage of life for young women whether you are one, have been one, will be one, or know one. Cindy Lin’s set design, showing a snapshot view of each character’s defining habitat, is quite clever, showing three scenarios at each scene change. The first act is fast-paced, and lots of laughs are created while the ladies are hustling to get the shower duties assigned and handled so that unseen pregnant friend Libby will have a flawless and fun shower.
I think nearly everyone has experienced miscommunication, misunderstanding, and overreaction when trying to interpret emails or wonder about unanswered texts, and the communication, or lack thereof, triggers a lot of the laughs as well as tension and clues to each character’s place in the puzzle. Libby’s college friend Penny (Sonal Shah) immediately takes charge, and had no opponent for the position, although Meredith (Laila Ayad) doesn’t pass up an opportunity to critique her skills. Tension rapidly builds as Penny tries to get the plans rolling but the others are not set on expedite mode. As the preparations haphazardly proceed, we get deeper into each character’s thoughts and emotions triggered by the upcoming birth and celebration. Libby’s childhood friends Gillian (Courtney Sauls) and Eden (Sarah Utterback) don’t seem to be on the motherhood track and are occasionally a bit snarky and not overly excited about the shower. Actress Natalia (Anna Rose Hopkins) is also a college friend and provides her interpretation of the information in the book “What to Expect When You are Expecting,” and Clara (Jenny Soo) is the only mother in the group and is obviously not just cheerfully baking cookies and cooing over her baby, she’s depressed and her baby is always crying. We don’t see enough of her in the first act (too busy being a mom), but her monologue in the second act brings us into her reality. The play needs to be tightened up quite a bit, it is over two hours, and the dynamic pace could be maintained better with some snips here and there. The final segment, which takes place in the bathroom at the actual shower, brings everything to an emotional boil and the friends own, and sometimes confess, their own truths.
IAMA Theatre Company Atwater Village Theatre 3269 Casitas Ave. Los Angeles 323-644-1929 6/17, 6/18, 6/19, 6/20, 6/24, 6/25, 6/26, 6/27 (See website for special performances and Pay What You Can night)
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