By ANRICA DEB
It’s hard not to be a little charmed by a production that includes lines like “You mean you came here to talk about sperm for a friend?”
For All the Babies’ Fathers is full of oddities like these as it takes the audience at the Brava Theater on a short, nonlinear trip through the psychology of an unwilling father-to-be.
The play, which premiere’s tonight and previewed Thursday, stars Michael Sommers as Henry, a gawky and frantic man who’s accidentally impregnated a woman but has no power over the results of his actions. Henry tries to derail the impending child, even offering Glory the option of aborting and then selecting new sperm from her choice of donors. Nicole Lungerhausen plays Glory, the strong and unyielding woman who’s keeping the baby.
The cherubic, 12-year-old Caleb Alexander portrays the baby-in-waiting. Madeline H.D. Brown and Myers Clark fluidly shift characters to fulfill a smattering of complementary roles. Clark is particularly impressive, beautifully squeezing himself into each subsequent role–father, friend, student, potential sperm donor–both naturally and without pulling attention away from the main characters.
The overall production satisfies, with set, lighting, sound, and acting. However, the play itself is slightly undercooked. The piece is short, just 75 minutes, and jammed with imagery from water to socks. Sometimes these symbols resonate cohesively and sometimes they fall flat.
Though the show is enjoyable because of its playful dialogue and unusual story, Mission Loc@l recommends taking advantage of $2.50 drinks across the street at Pop’s Bar before heading into the theater.
Directed by Jessica Heidt, artistic director for the Climate Theater, and written by San Francisco playwright Molly Rhodes, For All the Babies’ Fathers premieres Friday at Brava on 24th Street.
A mission institution since 1986, Brava has been located in the former York Theater, 70-year-old vaudeville playhouse, for more than 12 years. The organization also provides after-school programs and classes. Much of its staff is volunteer.
Through May 16. $10-$25. Brava Theater, 2781 24th St. 415.641.7657. www.brava.org