THE MUSIC MAN
With Seán Martinfield
MAGIC THEATRE lays an egg!
"Morbidity & Mortality" is premature
March 12, 2006
MORBIDITY & MORTALITY, the second offering in the
Magic Theatre's "Hot House'06" series is simply too
contrived. A sort-of middle class east coast / sort-of-Jewish
straight couple get all tangled up with a self-proclaimed atheist
Indian American single and straight guy of the Connecticut-Hindu
variety. The couple's baby is born a month premature and with
a defective heart valve. Said atheist is the doctor performing
the operation on the baby's walnut-sized heart; this being his
first, ever, but not to worry because a more-experienced physician
is standing right beside him supervising his every move. Operation
fails, baby dies. Said parents, not ever having chosen the boy-or-girl
name prior to its birth, decide the Death Certificate must simply
Scene One? Carolyn, the baby's mother, looks at the audience,
giggles, and confesses: "I have sexual fantasies-true-and-I-ha!-I
masturbate to the thought of having sex with the doctor who killed
Whoa! Stage lights came up less than a minute ago. Didn't the
House Manager just get through telling us the production is only
an hour and fifteen minutes in length and has no intermission?
How bad would it look if I left now?
Then, straight to the jaw, Carolyn and Michael jokingly reveal
to us (as in the old nursery rhyme, "Jack Sprat could eat
not fat, his wife could eat no lean
.") that, during
the pregnancy, she can't eat eggs and Michael - "I can't
Yike. Obvious set-ups / really-bad punch-lines.
No Act 2? Thank you.
According to a short essay in the playbill, "Ritual and
the Expression of Grief", written by Assistant Director Erin
Gilley and the play's author, Courtney Baron, the work focuses
on the first month of the couple's grieving process. We are given
brief and generalized descriptions of sacred practices and ritual
progressions specific to Jewish and Hindu traditions, i.e., when
it comes to dispatching the Dead. We are also alerted (some of
us reminded) about standard conferences occurring in modern hospitals
wherein the medical staff reviews and discusses problems encountered,
specifically when the patient dies - those being, the "Morbidity
and Mortality" meetings. With just a quick sweep of the audience,
my guess is most of us are already clued-into much of the above
and have been there / done that (with someone/anyone) by now and/or
have simply watched the 6 o'clock News once in a while since 9/11.
Lots of death freely on view, lots of religious messaging from
every direction the ear can hear, lots of state funerals, lots
of natural and man-made disasters, and lots of testimony about
how to deal and heal through a Mardi gras.
As the play progresses, we discover the couple and this luck-of-the-draw
doctor have a sum total of NADA when it comes to an acquaintance
with at least 2 out of 3 from any combination of the above; all
family members, alleged friends and possible mentors being likewise
clueless. Hence, the Drama.
Come the last moments, Carolyn ventures into the audience, sits
next to an innocent ticket-holder and poses the question, "What
do we learn?" Really want to know?
Three exceptionally talented and attractive actors are on the
stage at The Magic Theatre - Sasha Eden (Carolyn), Jonathan Leveck
(Michael), and Hari Dhillon (Dr. Anil Petal). They deserve your
MORBIDITIY & MORTALITY - clearly in need of incubation
- does not.
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