Review: Within The Glass

WITHIN THE GLASS by Anna Chatterton (Tarragon, 30 Bridgman). Runs to February 14. $28-$60, some rush, stu/srs discounts. 416-531-1827. See.


WITHIN THE GLASS by Anna Chatterton (Tarragon, 30 Bridgman). Runs to February 14. $28-$60, some rush, stu/srs discounts. 416-531-1827. See Continuing. Rating: NNN

The desire to have a child lies at the core of Anna Chatterton‘s Within The Glass, a dramedy about two couples who want to be parents and find themselves linked in an awkward way.

Darah (Philippa Domville) and Michael (Rick Roberts) invite the younger Linda (Nicola Correia-Damude) and Scott (Paul Braunstein) to their elegant house to talk about the unfortunate situation in which they find themselves. Nineteen weeks earlier, a fertility clinic mistakenly placed Darah and Michael’s fertilized egg in Linda’s womb.

The evening is spent discussing what to do with the in vitro fetus. The law in Ontario, where all four live, states that the fetus belongs to the genetic parents, but Linda argues that in many other places the child is the birth mother’s.

Understandably, emotions often run at a high pitch, despite Michael’s attempts to keep everything calm and happy. He doesn’t get much support from Scott, who from the start is against this visit.

Chatterton’s clever script weaves other topics into the parenthood discussion, including the social and economic differences between the couples, reflected in Julie Fox‘s costumes and the stylishness of Darah and Michael’s home. Tensions are also ratcheted up by the fact that the younger two already have a child and the elder have tried unsuccessfully six times for an in vitro birth.

But there’s comedy, too, both in the lines (when Scott says he’s a poet, the uptight Darah immediately responds “I love to read”) and in the physical humour that director Andrea Donaldson and her fine cast have devised.

Domville captures the mannerisms and vocal tone of the nervous, chic Darah, desperate for a baby and angry that she’s not carrying one, while Correia-Damude gives Linda, a performance artist, the comfortableness and warmth of an earth mother determined to be in touch with and share her feelings.

But the play seems unbalanced. The men aren’t as well drawn, though Roberts charms as the investment banker trying to woo his guests over to his way of thinking, and Braunstein catches Scott’s prickly, shit-disturbing quality. Each man feels hurt in some way by what’s happened, but their concerns don’t feel as important as the women’s in this entertaining, thought-provoking parenthood argument.

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