Written by Michael Paul Wirsch
Directed by Olivia Hartle
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited
Falling somewhere between a cheap Penny Dreadful and a horrific Sci-Fi B-movie, Michael Paul Wirsch’s “The Curse of the Babywoman” (hereafter “The Curse”) has found its way onto the stage of the Lower East Side’s Teatro SEA as part of FringeNYC 2016.
The residents of Shrubtown live in fear of the hoard of shapeless, formless babies who haunt the woods at night waiting to gum their victims with their toothless mouths and bring them under their spell. By day these vampire-like, werewolf-like creatures live alongside their neighbors unnoticed. But after sunset they morph into “babywomen” a fearful curse on the law-abiding citizens who frequent Bob’s Big Boy and savor the fast-food chain’s dog meat (one cannot make this stuff up – well someone did of course).
It is not necessary to share the cast of characters or their insipid conflicts or the thin plot those conflicts drive. The play’s characters have conflicts that drive a plot as absurd and dull as the puppet stage which provides the production’s “special effects.”
If “The Curse” is attempting to provide a trope for the repercussions of fearing the unknown, it does not succeed – the play is simply not that multi-layered nor that complex. If the play is trying to lift up the hearts and minds of people who do not hate what they do not understand, it does not succeed there either – the play is too convoluted to support that important theme.
“The Curse” is not well written, it is not well directed, and it leaves the unfortunate cast adrift in one hour and forty-five minutes of nonsense. There is no reason to see this woebegone play.