Writer: Jamie Aderski
Director: Chris Roberti
Reviewer: Carrie Lee O’Dell
Despite what the images of glamorous celebrity pregnancy that parade across our news feeds tell us, having babies is messy business. Keeping them alive and healthy while trying to maintain one’s sanity is even more complicated. In her show Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood, Jamie Aderski offers up the good, the bad, and the gross of childbearing and motherhood to her audiences.
Cry Baby is divided into several sections that focus on different themes: the lasting physical impact of carrying a child, the common and often absurd questions new mothers face, and the seemingly impossible challenge of quieting a screaming baby. There’s a lot of direct interaction with the audience; at one point a hapless spectator ends up trying to swaddle a baby doll, while changing its diaper, putting a hat on its head, and giving it a bottle. Aderski shouts encouragement while she refills her drink. The play ends with a series of collected musings, delivered “until I run out of time or I run out of wine.”
This solo effort, directed by Chris Roberti, brings to mind the phrase hot mess and that’s not necessarily bad. By the end of the show, the stage is littered with the detritus of her storytelling: large sheets of paper from the flip chart she uses to list the ways pregnancy takes a toll on a woman’s body, index cards with her notes, bottles, teething rings, blankets—almost a reflection of the mess that a child can make of one’s life and home. Aderski is brutally honest and wildly funny, but never pedantic. She’s makes it clear that while being a mother is hard, it’s opened up her world in ways she didn’t expect, but she avoids talking down to the childless. The final section of the play, when she sits down with her wine glass and shares random thoughts on her experiences, is warm and intimate, as if she’s invited us into her home to catch up.
While Cry Baby is frank, funny, and intimate, it would benefit from some additional script work. The shifts between individual sections are rather abrupt. Greater work on transitions could make for a more cohesive whole rather than a collection of funny bits. That said, it’s a good time. Cry Baby is fairly short, early, and inexpensive. Plus as a bonus the bar at The PIT will provide you with libations to take in with you. It makes for a fun start to a night out in the city.
Runs on Fridays until 10 November 2017