Wednesday July 26th 2017

“The Kid Thing”

Highly Recommended As our world changes, and same sex couples begin to start families, the “straight” population has to look at life through new eyes. In Sarah Gubbins’  new play, “The Kid Thing”, now in its World Premiere at Chicago Dramatists Theatre as a collaboration with About Face Theatre, we ,the audience ,get to meet two same sex couples, best friends, who share a great deal in their lives, but can they share the largest part of their lives? Can both couples use the same “birth father” so that each couple can become a true family? This is the premise for this warm, funny ( at times) and very real insight into what is a mystery for most of us.

More and more, we see two women or two men walking with a child in the mall, standing on the sidelines at a soccer game, sitting in a restaurant enjoying a meal or driving in the car alongside us on the highway. Who are they? How are they connected? Are they a family? While we might ponder these questions, only out of curiosity for the most part, it has no bearing on our lives. What if we were one of these men or women and this was our family? How would we react to what others “might be thinking” about us ( as a family)? Are they laughing at us? Are they somewhat shaken? Or do they really care? How does a child, growing up in a same-sex household react when other kids question why they have two moms or two dads, and not the other?

Gubbins takes us on a deep, thought provoking journey as we meet our couples, Darcy ( the incredible, male-like Kelli Simpkins) and her mate Leigh ( a superb performance by Park Krausen). They have a lovely condo ( the design by Chelsea M Warren is spectacular, almost ready to move into quality and the stage at Chicago Dramatists appears larger than ever) and what appears to be a perfect life, except Leigh wants a child. Their best friends, Nate ( deftly handled by Halena Kays) and Margot ( the lovely Rebekah Ward-Hays), who are joining them for dinner, announce that they have become pregnant and Leigh begins to think about how great it would be to do the same and then they can all raise their kids as one large family- it takes a village to raise a family! Can they be this village?

Directed to perfection by Joanie Schultz on the wonderful set with great lighting ( Sarah Hughey),sound ( Miles Polaski) and props ( boy are there props in this one) by Katherine Greenleaf, this is a solid piece of theater- one that gives us pause to think; to think about the changing times and the world itself. The technical use of the stage and the intimacy of the theater makes this a delightful and educational experience. It would be nice, if perhaps on Sundays when there is time to do so ( running time is two hours including a 15 minute intermission) to have discussions, in order to allow the audience to ask about some of the situations contained within the story. Oh, well. Maybe next time!

 

It turns out that Nate and Margot have selected as their sperm donor an old college buddy of Nate and Leigh, jacob ( a spectacular performance by Steve O’Connell, who underplays where needed and has great comic timing) and Leigh wants to use him as well. Darcy, who has repeatedly stated that she wants a family, may not be as ready as she appears and that is what Gubbins explores deeply with great feeling. Can this woman who dresses and is very “mannish” in mannerisms, raise a child? Will the life a gay couple gives to this child be as real as they dream it will? Or, will this child’s life be filled with heartache and pain? While this is a great “think piece” there are many comical moments and a glimpse of life “on the other side” for most audience members. The more we know about others and their feelings, the easier it will be to co-exist. But, only if we pay attention!

“The Kid Thing”  will continue at the very intimate Chicago Dramatists, located at 1105 W. Chicago Avenue ( at Milwaukee/Ogden?Chicago) with its entrance in back, through October 16th with performances as follows:

Thursdays,Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $32 and can be purchased online at www.chicagodramatists.org

There is limited street parking in the area with some metered and of course the blue line is a great way to go.

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