The second play that UMD Theatre has produced this year, “And Baby Makes Seven,” has a unique perspective on what it means to be a parent. Opening last week on Oct. 30, the production will continue to perform through Nov. 9 in the Dudley Experimental Theatre at UMD.
The show's name is often misleading. In Paula Vogel's script, the show is centered around three adult characters — Ruth, Anna and Peter. Ruth and Anna are a lesbian couple and Peter is their gay best friend, as well as the surrogate father of their baby.
Koki Sabates, who plays Anna, explains the complex plot line.
“My partner and I have three imaginary children. We wanted kids so badly we made them up. So once I have the actual baby, that makes four children, and then Ruth, Peter and I. So that’s seven of us in our little family.”
What makes the show unique is that the cast consists of only three people: Sabates (Anna), Stephanie Stine (Ruth) and Phil Hoelscher (Peter). However, each actor plays multiple roles. Sabates doubles as one of the imaginary children, Cecil, and Stine plays the other two, Henri and Orphan. Each character is very different in physicality and voice.
“Vocally, (it has) been very challenging making sure we're supporting our voices and being understood through the accents,” Sabates said. “We've been playing around with different voices and trying to keep consistency.”
Sabates said director Kate Ufema really helped them find precision in differentiating their characters, as well as improving their range as actors throughout the process.
While the show does have some adult themes, the focus is not so much about their sexual orientation but more about the characters, their love for each other, and their children.
“It's a very sweet and moving show,” Sabates said. “I think it's more about opening up your perspective, especially when it comes to parenting. There's no manual, and you just have to do what you think is best and just trust yourself. That's something that scares Peter.
“He doesn't know if he'll be a good father, but Ruth and I know he will.”
The play features many comedic moments, but also touching and heartfelt ones. Much of the comedy comes from how realistic many of the awkward situations are that occur during the transition into parenthood. Sabetes said she hopes people will walk away knowing that while change is scary, it is an essential part of any family.
BY JOSLYN DANIELSON Statesman Theater Correspondent