“Cradle and All”, by Daniel Goldfarb, is currently playing at Capitol Hill’s Theater Schmeater. It is, in fact, two one-acts, each one an inverse of the other, linked thematically by reproductive issues. In the first half, Claire, an actress, and Luke, an antiques dealer, go round and round about whether to have a baby. In the second half Nate and Annie have to deal with the consequences of having a baby, and are specifically dealing with trying to get their 11 month-old to go to sleep on her own. The actors are the same in each half. Alyson Bedford plays both Claire and Annie, and Matthew Middleton plays Nate and Luke.
The set was one of the best parts of the play. It was a modern apartment, with an open plan kitchen, and an open plan living room, with a fireplace. Since both couples lived next door to each other in an apartment building it made sense that they were living in apartments which were exactly the same. Props and décor were changed at the intermission, reflecting the different life-styles of the inhabitants.
The play also is one of those “let’s telegraph the audience that we are New York Jews” with lots of not very funny self-conscious predictable references to New York real estate and social mores. In my opinion, there was about enough material for 5 minute sketches, but they keep going on and on and on and repeating the same jokes and gags. The parents engaged in endless bickering of the un-witty unpleasant variety, the dinks (double income-no kids) were just boring, in soap opera fashion. The author seemed to have nothing new to say about the subject and the script fell into clichés.
Since the set, the direction and the acting were very good, it seemed a pity to waste so much talent on such a poor script. I know I’ve said it before, but I wonder what happened to Theater Schmeater. When it first opened it produced some of the most creative theatre in town. “Cradle and All” does not seem like a legitimate descendent of the original Theater Schmeater.
CRADLE AND ALL, by Daniel Goldfarb, Theater Schmeater, 1500 Summit Ave. Seattle, WA
Thur.-Sat 8 pm. Jan. 20 to Feb 18. brownpapertickets.com 1 (800) 838-3006. www.schmeater.org or (206) 324-5801