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The Electric Baby
a Comedy/Drama
by Stefanie Zadravec

COMPANY : The Weird Sisters Theatre Project
VENUE : 7 Stages [WEBSITE]
ID# 5341

SHOWING : September 14, 2018 - September 30, 2018



When a young man is killed in a car accident, a group of fractured souls encounter a magical dying baby and begin to rewrite the stories of their lives. Folk tales and folklore weave throughout this darkly comic story of sad endings, strange beginnings and the unlikely people that get you from one place to the next.

Director Ibi Owolabi
Rozie Alexandra Ficken
Ambimbola Tony Goolsby
Reed Charles Green
Natalia Caitlin Josephine Hargraves
Dan/Dave/Nurse Greg Hernandez
Helen Ann Wilson
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by playgoer
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
You can tell by the title "The Electric Baby" that something unusual is afoot. When you enter the theatre and view the absolutely gorgeous set by Kristina Adler, your suspicions are confirmed. There, on a platform built out to extend the second story ledge of the 7Stages black box, you see a bassinet that glows with tubes and lights, twenty strands of small white lights reaching out in all directions from it, with sheer white fabric gathered above the bassinet in a canopy and extending onto the black wall of the space like an ethereal butterfly.

The ledge snugly fits a table and chair in the upstage corner and positions a door at the downstage side. Aside from the diaphanous canopy, the walls are covered with pleated fabric panels (upstage wall) and rugs and runners (stage left wall). The effect is of a decoration style other than all-American. Since the platform and ledge represent the apartment of a Romanian woman, this is altogether fitting.

The floor level of the playing space contains a counter that serves various purposes, with a hospital bed and seating moved on and off to represent multiple locations. The set changes are accomplished neatly, but not unnecessarily speedily. This is the kind of play that rewards a little "breathing space" after a scene to let its impact sink in.

The technical elements are all good. Nicole Clockel’s costumes befit each character, Aaron Gotlieb’s props do a fine job of indicating various locations, and Mary Ruth Ralston’s lighting design and Cody Evins’ sound design help create the semi-magical world of the story.

Director Ibi Owolabi has gotten the best out of her cast. Caitlin Hargraves, the Romanian woman, starts the show by dispensing folk wisdom to her baby and to the audience. It’s a charming performance, even if her accent seems a bit hit-and-miss. Anthony Goolsby does better with his accent as a Nigerian driver, Ambimbola. Both tell folk tales from their native lands, with the stories merging as the play comes to a close.

The play is fleshed out by Charles Green (Reed) and Ann Wilson (Helen) as a married couple who are involved as pedestrians in a car accident and by Allie Ficken (Rozie) and Greg Hernandez (Dan), who are riding in the back seat of Ambimbola’s car when the accident occurs. Mr. Hernandez also plays other roles, but all tie back to his role in the accident.

Each character is distinctly etched, with Rozie’s foul language nicely contrasted with Ambimbola’s signs requesting passengers to watch their language. There’s a connection between Reed and Rozie that complicates his marriage, and Helen’s near-meddling helpfulness provides additional complications. Everything ties together by the end, but not in a purely rational, down-to-earth fashion. There’s a bit of magic in the electric baby and in the folktales told by his parents.

The Weird Sisters’ "The Electric Baby" is a beautifully realized production of Stefanie Zadravec’s script, highlighting superb acting and above-par production values to create a magical world in which folktales and reality merge. Ibi Owolabi has assembled a cast and crew that bring Ms. Zadravec’s words to life. This is one not to be missed. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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