IAMA Theater Company presents “Untitled Baby Play” to us at the Atwater Village Theatre.
By Carol Edger Germain
Written by Nina Braddock, directed by Katie Lindsay and starring six exceptional and equally talented actors, the play presents a universal situation experienced by women typically in their twenties and thirties – first supporting your best friends during their marriages, then some of them a few years later at their first baby showers.
This is an insightful look at this stage in the lives of young women, whether you are one, have been one, are one, or know one. Cindy Lin’s set design, showing an instant view of each character’s defining habitat, is quite clever, showing three scenarios with each scene change. The first act is fast-paced and lots of laughs are created as the ladies scramble to get showering chores assigned and handled so that pregnant invisible friend Libby has a spotless and fun shower.
I think almost everyone has experienced miscommunication, misunderstanding, and overreaction when trying to interpret emails or wondering about unanswered texts, and communication, or lack thereof, triggers a lot of laughter as well as tension and clues as to where each character fits into the puzzle. . Libby’s college friend Penny (Sonal Shah) immediately takes charge and has had no opponents for the job, although Meredith (Laila Ayad) doesn’t pass up an opportunity to criticize her skills. The tension quickly mounts as Penny tries to push the plans forward, but the others aren’t in fast-track mode. As preparations unfold randomly, we delve deeper into each character’s thoughts and emotions triggered by the birth and upcoming celebration. Libby’s childhood friends Gillian (Courtney Sauls) and Eden (Sarah Utterback) don’t seem to be on the road to motherhood and are sometimes a bit sarcastic and not too excited about the shower. Actress Natalia (Anna Rose Hopkins) is also a college friend and provides her take on the information in the book ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’, and Clara (Jenny Soo) is the group’s only mother and Obviously isn’t just happily baking cookies and cooing over her baby, she’s depressed and her baby is still crying. We don’t see her enough in the first act (too busy being a mother), but her monologue in the second act plunges us into her reality. The game needs to be tightened up a bit, it’s over two hours long, and the dynamic pacing could be better maintained with a few 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)