The Play About the Baby
Two things about the Vista Players and director Aram Kouyoumdjian: (1) They take on challenging, literary scripts that have been bypassed by local professional companies. (2) Their shows, with solid casting and high production values, are consistently a cut above most efforts by smaller theater groups.
Exhibit A is this production of Edward Albee’s The Play About the Baby. It is, quite simply, an exhilarating show, probably the group’s best all-around effort to date.
Albee’s script is latter-day absurdism from a man in his 70s who’s written several great plays (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Three Tall Women for starters) and who is still rambunctious, exploring his craft and his mind.
The play opens with a young, happy, naive couple—called Boy and Girl—who have a baby and spend half the day doing what could bring them another one.
Suddenly, there’s someone else onstage—Man, followed by Woman. They’re middle-aged, more worldly and somehow a little sinister.
Albee launches into what initially appear to be wild speeches and tangents, even moments of song and dance—tricky maneuvers that Kouyoumdjian directs well. But eventually, it all weaves together, even though it doesn’t precisely resolve itself. Keep in mind that this is not a realistic play. A lot of what you see is stylized; hilarity and desperation walk hand in hand.
Blair Leatherwood and Jan Ahders are tremendous as Man and Woman. J.D. Rudometkin and Me-gan Biolchini are sexy and vulnerable as Boy and Girl. Kouyoumdjian does a fine job of threading his way through a very complex script. Alan Tollefson’s set is probably the best I’ve seen on this stage. It’s a superior effort all the way around—highly recommended.