Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre kicks off its Mainstage season in a huge way with Stefanie Zadravec’s “The Electric Baby,” luminously directed by Producing Artistic Director Laura Ekstrand. The lives of the characters are interwoven in a warp and weft that they cannot begin to know, or even realize, in the way that all our lives are connected to one another. This piece could be a text book on different kinds of storytelling, starting from the opening interaction Natalia (Beth Painter) has with the audience, which is intensely personal. Be prepared to interact!
Reed (Scott McGowan) and his wife Helen (Harriet Trangucci) are attending a soirée in a downtown hotel for their daughter’s husband, widowed by their daughter Emily and her tragic early death. Helen is furious that her son-in-law seems to have moved on and she flees her husband, running into the street to catastrophic results, which echo through the play.
Rozie (Sandy Sainvil) and Dan (Harry Patrick Christian) are wait staff together in a restaurant. If work were school, they’d be separated–they’re laughing and cutting up constantly, clearly enjoying one another’s company and clearly BFFs. When we first meet them, they’re getting into a cab driven by Bimbo (André DeSandies), who is one of the happiest men on Earth, though perhaps he’d have a right to complain. Bimbo does his best to avoid a car accident, but finds himself in the hospital far away from his family–not so much in distance as in spirit.
The relationships among these characters come out in skillfully rendered tastings, and ways that are surprising as they unfold. Rozie has a–hmmm–second job where she’s met Reed. That story as it unfolds tells us a great deal about both characters. Natalia and Bimbo have brilliance in the folklore that renders touching and poignant moments immediately surrounding funny ones, just as in life.
Christian’s Dan is a chameleon, multum in parvo–one among many—as he becomes Rozie’s lost friend, whom she seems to see everywhere. McGowan’s Reed has a deep well of melancholy that he can’t seem to plumb and Helen’s broken heart is on her face, on her sleeve and in the guilt she cannot wash away.
Sainvil’s Rozie is a street-wise f-bomb-dropping young woman, whose inner child has never fully had a childhood. There is magic throughout and there’s a story that’s narrated by Natalia and Bimbo and danced by Rozie and Dan that took my breath away. This play will remain with you, with bits surfacing again and again and again. That’s a very good thing.
What are you waiting for? Dreamcatcher’s “The Electric Baby” is playing in Summit, New Jersey, through October 18, so visit www.Dreamcatcherrep.org
to get tickets and more details!