Flash Review: Baltimore Waltz

Editor’s Note: This review comes to us from Katherine Baker ’14. 

Opening the program for The Baltimore Waltz while sitting in the Hill Theater on Friday as I waited for the play to begin, I was surprised to find a letter accompanying the usual information on director, cast and crew, the command to silence all cell phones and the like.

The letter was from Carl Vogel to his sister, Paula, expressing his wishes for his funeral ceremony as he slowly dies of AIDS. Soon after the death of her brother, Paula Vogel wrote The Baltimore Waltz. The absurd situations of the play carry the same tone of her brother’s letter: humor in the face of death, comfort in the face of tragedy.

The play itself is a more satirical take on the AIDS epidemic. Anna (Robyn Rae Stype ’12) is diagnosed with ATD (Acquired Toilet Disease) a terminal illness that appears to only affect young, single schoolteachers. She departs with her brother Carl (Aeneas Hemphill ’12) and the two conduct a long-dreamed-of tour of Europe. Anna lives vivaciously while she can, eating good food and sleeping with as many men as she can get her hands on. In between sightseeing, Carl meets with shady characters in a desperate search for a black market drug.

Every other part in the piece is played by a single actor. Filling the part of the Third Man, Tim Jurney ’15 follows Anna and Carl on their journey. Whether he was playing the doctor delivering bad news, the owner of a French bistro or the mad doctor in Vienna, each personality came across as vivid and distinct.

The Baltimore Waltz is not a play to miss. Directing for her senior thesis, Sophie Blumberg wove the elements of absurdity together with the underlying tragedy to make a compact, cohesive piece. The play was carried off by the masterful acting of its performers. The Baltimore Waltz will play a final time in the Hill Theater tonight at 8:00 p.m.

One response

  1. Pingback: 10 o’clock list: Top Fifteen Plays the KCDC Should Stage « The Thrill

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