Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Baby Screams Miracle
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Review by Susan Berlin | Season Schedule

Also see Susan's reviews of Caroline, or Change, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and As You Like It

Kate Eastwood Norris
and Cody Nickell

Photo by Scott Suchman
Baby Screams Miracle, Clare Barron's play currently onstage at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, is all over the place. It's a surrealistic story about a family trying to use religious faith to cope with the destruction caused by a vicious storm, but Howard Shalwitz's direction and the physical production, specifically James Kronzer's scenic design and Jared Mezzocchi's video designs, are more compelling than the human drama.

In their isolated home in eastern Washington State, Carol (Kate Eastwood Norris) and her husband Gabe (Cody Nickell) use prayer as their bulwark against the threats and quandaries of everyday life. Sometimes their devotion gets uncomfortably intense, as when Gabe prays that he wants to "die to myself" to make himself a better husband and father. Carol doesn't think love for God should mean the destruction of self.

Then the storm arrives, recedes, and hits back harder. Shalwitz and Kronzer had the inspired idea of using models to show the deteriorating condition of the house from the exterior while depicting the interior destruction through flying props such as leaves blowing in from the wings. Mezzocchi's videos bring the rage of the storm to life, aided by Palmer Hefferan's sound design.

The onslaught of the storm brings together the rest of the family: Carol's mother, Barbara (Sarah Marshall); Carol's adult daughter, Cynthia (Caroline Dubberly); and Carol and Gabe's shy young daughter, Kayden (Mia Rilette or Caroline Rilette). To complicate matters, both Carol and Cynthia are pregnant.

During the play, which runs one hour and 45 minutes without intermission, the calamities pile up: one character has a prosthetic foot, a deer collides with Gabe's car, the family's dog dies, and Kayden has a way of disappearing. The actors do a good job of navigating this difficult and puzzling drama.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Baby Screams Miracle
January 30th - February 26th, 2017
By Clare Barron
Barbara: Sarah Marshall
Carol: Kate Eastwood Norris
Gabe: Cody Nickell
Cynthia: Caroline Dubberly
Kayden: Mia Rilette or Caroline Rilette
Directed by Howard Shalwitz
641 D St. N.W., Washington, DC
Ticket Information: 202-393-3939 or

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