Photo courtesy of Moxie Theatre
Jo Anne Glover (left) and Sarah Karpicus in The Kid Thing
With a flip title like The Kid Thing , you'd expect Sarah Gubbins' Chicago-situated play to take a cavalier, even disdainful, look at the decision of whether to have a child. Quite the opposite is true. Everyone in The Kid Thing treats the possibility of parenthood seriously, very seriously. That succeeds in wringing the cleverness out of the light half of this dramedy, which ultimately turns angry and confrontational. If, on the other hand, one regards The Kid Thing as a reflective treatise on both whether or not to parent but on lesbian relationship dynamics, then its undertone of glibness can be seen as a means to better humanize its characters. Either way, The Kid Thing, receiving its San Diego premiere at Moxie Theatre, is ruminative and, under the direction of Kym Pappas, swiftly paced entertainment.
The play begins with lesbian couple Margot (Anna Rebek) and the more-butch Nate (Katharine Harroff) announcing "their" pregnancy by donor insemination to their close friends Leigh (Sarah Karpicus) and the "manly"-to-the-max Darcy (Jo Anne Glover). Complications quickly arise when Leigh decides that she and reluctant Darcy, whose blatant anger and repressed self-loathing seem to imperil their relationship, should go the same "kid thing" route. That brings us to good-natured and prodigiously potent Jacob (Connor Sullivan), Margot and Nate's donor and an ex-school chum of Leigh's, whom she recruits to "double down," as you might say.
More than half of The Kid Thing addresses this provocative scenario with a sharp appreciation for gender politics and the complex fabric of friendship. One personal betrayal revealed after another, however, transforms the mood of the play, which may very well be Gubbins' intention. Her focal character is Darcy, the one among the five who is truly complex and about whom it is a challenge to be sympathetic. But it's a crisis of identity that's at the heart of Darcy's temperament, and Glover's performance to that end is an uncompromising one.
The Kid Thing asks all of us—no matter our sense of identity, our gender or our preference—what bringing a child into an uneasy world might mean.
The Kid Thing runs through Dec. 11 at Moxie Theatre in Rolando. $20 and up. moxietheatre.com
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