Regional Reviews: Los Angeles
Raised in Captivity
There is something to be said about theatre artists collaborating, renting out a small space and performing as a labor of love. Last weekend, a group of Palm Beach residents infiltrated Miami-Dade County, the land of alternative, avant-garde material. They are congregating in a black-box space and producing work that is suited for that type of crowd. This independent outfit is called The Baby Factor. Their first assignment: Nicky Silver's Raised in Captivity.
The story opens at a gravesite where Sebastian (Thom Lacey) meets his sister Bernadette (Jennifer Gomez) and her husband Kip (Stephen Sweeney). This is their mother's funeral. Sebastian is a writer for Vanity Fair, but unfortunately his last article was highly unfounded, so now he's broke. Bernadette offers to take him in, but she has demons of her own to conquer. One of them is her husband, who is going through a crossroads of sorts. A dentist by trade, Kip decides to give up his practice and become a painter, much to Bernadette's dismay.
On the flip side of the coin, Sebastian decides to dump his therapist (Janet Weakley) due to financial and personal reasons. Desperate to keep him as a client, she professes her love to Sebastian, which makeS him more withdrawn. The only thing that keeps Sebastian uplifted is his pen pal, Dylan (Kenneth Thompson), who is in jail for murder.
Welcome to the wonderful, warped world of Nicky Silver. Raised in Captivity is a show for anyone who is stuck in their own mud but can find the redeeming qualities - not without a few turns and twists in the road, though. Like Christopher Durang, Silver blends wry humor and deep dark pathos that is slightly amusing. Painful but amusing. Silver builds a basic story about siblings growing up, becoming rivals, taking different paths, and ending up together again with the scars to prove it.
Although there are no standouts in this ensemble, the production moves along nicely. Thom Lacey and Jennifer Gomez have a rapport as Sebastian and Bernadette while Stephen Sweeney provides the quirks as Bernadette's henpecked husband. Both Janet Weakley and Kenneth Thompson are serviceable in dual roles as the siblings' deceased mother in an apparition sequence and a tacky gigolo, respectively.
The Baby Factor consists of Lacey, Gomez, Sweeney, and Thompson. Everyone collaborated on the designs, so there is not much to say except that everything is black, including the raised stage. The cast moves furniture on and off set without fuss.
There is something to be said about people creating opportunities when wells dry out. Ambition and collaboration play big parts in producing as an independent. With Raised in Captivity, the Baby Factor proves that even as just an entity, we can produce simple theatre and have fun doing it. Mission accomplished.
Raised in Captivity will play until August 29th at P.S. 742, 1165 SW 6th Street in Little Havana. For more information, please call (561) 251-1070.
THE BABY FACTOR - Raised in Captivity
Cast: Thom Lacey, Jennifer Gomez, Stephen Sweeney
Stage Manager: Kelly Klingman
Scenic & Lighting Design: Jennifer Gomez & Stephen Sweeney
Directed by The Baby Factor
-- Kevin Johnson