The Baby Monitor Gives Rise to Concerns -

Same-sex parenting, race, class, and family values are all hot topics in today’s media-heavy world. College of Santa Fe alumnus, and award-winning playwright/actor David Stallings has never been one to shy away from such hot button items. In fact, these and other subjects take center stage in his provocative 2014 Off Off Broadway offering The Baby Monitor, in which a well-meaning family member threatens to destabilize a same-sex family’s happiness. Having already been performed in New York, Belgrade, Dublin, Rome, and Cagliari, The Baby Monitor has its southwestern United States debut at the Santa Fe Playhouse, March 2 – April 1, 2023.

Performances and Special Offers

The Baby Monitor has a one-month run at the Santa Fe Playhouse, Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Special performances include Pay-What-You-Will performances on March 2 and 3, Industry Night on March 9, ASL interpreted performance on March 11 at 2 p.m., and a Human Rights Alliance Night on March 24. There are no Sunday matinees, and no intermission for this show, which runs 90 minutes. For more information, or to reserve tickets, visit the website.

The Play

A stereotype-shattering play that examines same-sex parenting and heteronormative family values in America, the action opens on Thanksgiving eve, when Damon – who has been rejected by most of his strict Catholic family – invites his close cousin Claire and her husband Josh to share the holiday with him, his husband Phillip, their two-year-old son Caleb, and his nanny Soledad. What starts out as an evening of good cheer and family loyalty, slowly becomes a revelatory glimpse into the tensions and culture clashes underlying it all. The tension becomes palpable when the new family’s photo album comes out and Claire takes exception to one of the photos included.

The next day, Clare goes back to the house to return a dish but finds only Soledad and the sleeping Caleb at home. It doesn’t take long before the veil of polite artificiality is rent asunder and true feelings emerge. As the two women clash, old resentments, hidden tensions, and deep-seated prejudices come to the surface like bloated corpses, never forgotten once revealed. Soon the fragile happiness of the idyllic family unit is threatened by these powerful outside forces with inside influence.

In Stallings’ vision, the characters are as messy and multi-faceted as real human beings, and so are the issues being portrayed. One moment he explores the many viewpoints at play when ingrained religious doctrine masquerading as societal norms rears its ugly head. Next, the tensions mount as secrets are revealed – such as Soledad’s connections to Phillip and Caleb. In the end, one thing is perfectly clear: Life, as everyone involved once knew it, will never be the same again.

What Critics Say About The Baby Monitor

Critics and dramaturges have had a lot to say about Stallings’ pivotal work. Jed Ryan at Lavender After Dark claims, “The stories of gay parents – and, specifically, the challenges those parents face – have occasionally been delved into via several venues of pop culture through the years: in movies, on TV, and in the theater. It is unlikely, however, that this subject matter has been explored in a more emotionally complete way as it’s explored in The Baby Monitor.

Joel Benjamin of the Outer Critics Circle calls The Baby Monitor “a fascinating examination of how quickly our intimates resort to self-serving, backstabbing deception just when their loyalty is most needed.” While The Unforgettable Line says,By fleshing out this nightmare scenario with all-too-common misunderstandings stemming from distinctions in race, class and religion, playwright David Stallings has delivered something far richer than an issues play.  It is a thoughtful examination of the ways in which simply tolerating differences rather than embracing them can cause irreparable damage to our societal fabric.”

This article was posted by David Salcido

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