Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Alien Baby Play by by Nicholas Walker Herbert, Tutto Theatre for Frontera Fest, January 20 - February 5

The Alien Baby Play Tutto Theatre Austin Texas

Bethany appeared first to the Austin public and to friends of Tutto Theatre in the warm and supporting setting of a private home in Westlake, last weekend. About twenty persons gathered in a living room comfortably furnished with artwork, masks and handicraft from across the world. Bethany was pleased to see all these friends at her "mom's house," hurried about, offered us cookies, disappeared momentarily and then came back, rubbing the arc of her belly from time to time and taking a moment to decorate it with a Post-It™ note: "Alien on board."

There was no fourth wall in this staging and in fact there were no walls at all, unless you count those enclosing the house. Kathleen Fletcher as the massively pregnant Bethany was hyped, self-hypnotized, eager to talk and to please. She told us that she was fifteen months pregnant with her alien baby, ready to deliver at any moment and confidently expecting the arrival of her lover at any moment. She invited questions, and one or another of us in the gathering hazarded a carefully neutral inquiry. Eventually someone asked how she knew, exactly, that the being in her womb was an alien, and Bethany eagerly shared her impressions of that late night alone when she found herself in the presence of the unknown, telepathically and corporally uniting with a being emanating an incomprehensible but perfectly understandable speech.

I thought momentarily of asking our hostess if this was an "illegal alien" but I refrained. That would have been rude, almost disbelieving, and Bethany was so eager to please us and to share her transformation. Kathleen the actress behind those owlish spectacles and beneath all that additional volume would certainly have responded with grace and probably with wit.

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