THE BALTIMORE WALTZ at PST Moves!
Princeton Summer Theater wraps up the summer season with Paula Vogel's THE BALTIMORE WALTZ, a moving production featuring three strong actors. Described as a "comedic fantasy" the play is Vogel's response to her brother's death in 1988 to AIDS-related complications. Set in a hospital room, the imagination, and a European tour the siblings (in the play and real life) never got to take, the play treads between reality and yearning; the bargains the living make when death is at the door.
It's not all gloomy, however, as Vogel's wit and her cast of characters exude the intelligent self-awareness and irony that have earned this Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright her place in the American Theater Hall of Fame, Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award and many others.
Director Nico Krell hits the right notes throughout the play's glides, weaving the absurd and satiric into the blunt and finite. Sean Peter Drohan (Carl) is endearing and honest, Evan Gedrich (Doctor, Third Man, Garcon, The Little Dutch Boy, and others) is versatile and dexterous, and Abby Melick does a masterful job, as usual, filling the character Anna with enough heart and purpose to carry a complicated role through to the final dance.
Much has been said of the play's relevance today, when the disease that was once a death-sentence can be managed with medication. But Vogel was wise to twist that detail from the start, giving Anna, and not Carl, an enigmatic fictious disease whose cure is yet unfound. The nature of disease and victim, while unique to times and places, is always relevant as we remember those lives claimed by AIDS, or those who are facing disease today.
But one aspect of the plot does jar with the changing dangers of our world today-the idea that Anna, as an unmarried elementary school teacher is the unlikely high-risk candidate for the play's version of a fatal disease.
Teaching elementary school is no longer a haven of crayons and innocence.
The 17 school shootings this year alone suggest being a school teacher has risks-unfair and under-treated-of its own.
Performances for The Baltimore Waltz run August 9th-August 19 th with shows every Thursday- Saturday at 8pm, Saturdays & Sundays at 2pm, and select Wednesdays at 8pm. All performances take place in The Hamilton Murray Theater on Princeton University's campus in Princeton, NJ 08540.
Tickets are $29.50 for general admission, $24.50 for students and matinee performances. To order tickets, visit http://www.princetonsummertheater.org/tickets or call the PST box office at 1-732- 997-0205.
Photo Credit: Sarah Golobish