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Baby Boom in Paradise

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Baby Boom in Paradise, Teatro Vivencia, at the Heartland Studio Theater. The decision to have a child, the struggle to maintain passion while scheduling sex around ovulation, the convergence of in-laws when conception is announced, the horror at the blubbery transmutation of the mother's body, and finally the screaming, puffing, and pushing--it's the oldest story in the book. Originally written as a monologue by Costa Rican playwright Ana Istaru, the script here is interpreted by two women, Coya Paz and Marta Suarez, sharing the role of mother-to-be and alternately playing the husband, in-laws, and other supporting characters.

Pulling off these quick changes without muddying the story is no small feat; and with their simple, crisp characterizations and nearly flawless timing, Paz and Suarez do a noteworthy job. But this is an old story, and aside from a few clever sequences--one a phone conversation between mom and fetus, another revealing the pregnant woman's nightmares--there's very little here that's fresh. And it's surprising, given that Teatro Vivencia is dedicated to producing Latin American female playwrights, that there's very little Latin flavor (aside from mentioning that, in Spanish, in-laws are known as "la familia politica"--a loaded phrase if there ever was one). At just under an hour, Baby Boom in Paradise is fun, light, and entertaining, but it seems Teatro Vivencia might offer more compelling material from the Latina writing community.

--Kim Wilson

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