The Kid Thing

By Sarah GubbinsThe Kid Thing by Sarah Gubbins

Directed by Joanie Schultz

produced by Chicago Dramatists &

About Face Theatre

At Chicago Dramatists

Thought provoking lesbian drama highlights problems raising children

Should gay couples raise children? What are effects of two mothers on the child? And how does the man-like butch mother cause her child trauma growing up? Those are some of the issues facing two lesbian couples in Sarah Gubbins’ world premiere drama, The Kid Thing, now playing at Chicago Dramatists.

The Kid Thing by Sarah Gubbins

We meet the butch Darcy (Keli Simpkins) and her lover the feminine Leigh (Park Krausen) hosting a party in their plush Chicago condo (terrific set design by Chelsea M. Warren) with their best friends another lesbian couple – the butch Nate (Helena Kays) and the beautiful Margot (Rebekah Ward-Hays). The two couples seem the best of friends until Nate and Margot spring their news on Darcy and Leigh – Margot is carrying a child!

It seems that Nate strongly desires a child and Margot relishes in motherhood.  Leigh instantly becomes fixated on being a birth mother while Darcy’s reservations surface. Much of act one is the emotional and philosophical battle between Darcy and Leigh on the pitfalls of raising a child. Add an affair between Darcy and Margot just to complicate things and this unique family/relationship drama develops into a thought-providing modern melodrama.

The Kid Thing by Sarah Gubbins

When Leigh finds out that a college chum of both her and Nate – Jacob (Steve O’ Connor) is the sperm-donor to Margot, she immediately rekindles her admiration for Jacob. Leigh is determined to convince Darcy that Jacob would be a terrific specimen with good genes . Darcy has more that problems with having a shared ‘father’ with Nate and Margot. Her deep-seated anger and self-esteem issues surface to complicate things.

Act Two presents a debate as to the problems raising a child in a two female home – especially when Nate/Margot and Leigh (with a commitment from Jacob) decide to “co-parent” between the two couples with visits from Jacob. Darcy uses those obvious problems to sabotage the desired pregnancy of Leigh with Jacob. But she is unaware of changed circumstances that further complicate things. The plot lines here are plausible and probable.

The play features outstanding performances by all, especially from Keli Simpkins as Darcy and Steve O ‘Connell as Jacob. Playwright Sarah Gubbins has underdeveloped some of her arguments against two female parent’s effects on their child. Darcy argues that her and Nate, since they dress and appear to be men, to a large part of society their child would be exposed to more bullying and harassment because of their butch mothers. Darcy references her and Nate’s experience. Darcy staunchly states she does want a child but that is the  inhibitor. Well, maybe my senior male attitude gets in the way – but-I have a solution for Darcy–let your hair grow put on make-up and a dress and live as a female. Problem solved. Actually, Darcy has more personal anger issues to deal with but I still can’t get over why Leigh doesn’t present my solution to Darcy if only to get the “real” issues Darcy has to surface so they can deal with them?

With that flaw aside, The Kid Thing presents a fresh, positive and honest look at contemporary lesbian relationships. The work bravely tackles emotionally charged child rearing issues with deft aplomb. The show will stimulate thoughtful post show debates. It is worth a look.

Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: September 9, 2011

Jeff Recommended

For more info checkout The Kid Thing page on www.theatreinchicago.com

At Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, www.chicagodramatists.org, tickets $32, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with intermission, through October 16, 2011