Deep Dish Theater's revival of The Baltimore Waltz | Theater | Indy Week
Pin It

Deep Dish Theater's revival of The Baltimore Waltz 

Would that we had the luxury of calling The Baltimore Waltz a period piece. But the 1.1 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS in 2010 were dwarfed by the 22.9 million sub-Saharan Africans with the virus. Given that more than two million people are infected and more than a million die each year from the disease, HIV/AIDS remains a pressing matter.

But, when placed against other AIDS-related plays from the same era, playwright Paula Vogel's strategy in this 1990 script now seems too demure. (The rest of this review contains spoilers.) Instead of focusing on gay brother Carl (Jesse Gephart), most of Waltz concerns his sister, Anna (Mary Forester), whose mysterious, fictive malady, ATD (Acquired Toilet Disease) sparks a heterosexually indiscriminate European holiday with Carl as tour guide in a takeoff of the Carol Reed film The Third Man.

Yes, Vogel's premise is right: If straight white schoolteachers had been the predominant victims, the government's response under Ronald Reagan would have been markedly different. But by now, the script's repeated emphasis on exclusively heterosexual abandon on stage now almost seems a bait-and-switch, which masks (or actually, eclipses) what would otherwise be depictions of homosexual desire.

Under Chip Rodgers' direction, strong work characterizes all three principal roles. Gephart particularly gives Carl dignity in a moving final monologue, while Forester gives her hapless Anna the requisite zing. Kit FitzSimons ably inhabits serious and comic characters here before a brilliant, show-stealing take on a German quack that's apparently related to Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove.

The final scenes, which reverse the switcheroo, have a commendable gravitas. But at this distance, the jokes that precede them seem to obscure rather than illuminate the facts.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Carolina fictions."

Related Locations

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Theater



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

The pendulum is swinging on both sides but it's great to see how hard it's swinging to the left in …

by RAriano on An Initiative to Counter Discrimination Against Female Theater Directors Provokes a Discrimination Complaint in Raleigh (Theater)

Should you ever require the services of a hacker, i implore you to try your very best to hire only …

by Nyomi Durani on Old time music in Sanford (Theater)

Should you ever require the services of a hacker, i implore you to try your very best to hire only …

by Teresa Mccarthy on A moribund society makes a stately exodus in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at Deep Dish Theater (Theater)

Best wishes & thanks to a fine artist & a real gentleman.

by khoragos on Paul Frellick Diagnoses Deep Dish Theater Company’s Lasting Legacy and Quiet Demise (Theater)

Thank you, Paul, and best wishes to you and your family in California.

by David Fellerath 1 on Paul Frellick Diagnoses Deep Dish Theater Company’s Lasting Legacy and Quiet Demise (Theater)

Comments

The pendulum is swinging on both sides but it's great to see how hard it's swinging to the left in …

by RAriano on An Initiative to Counter Discrimination Against Female Theater Directors Provokes a Discrimination Complaint in Raleigh (Theater)

Should you ever require the services of a hacker, i implore you to try your very best to hire only …

by Nyomi Durani on Old time music in Sanford (Theater)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation