RWU Theatre’s “Baby With the Bathwater”


Nicole Kowalewski/Hawks' Herald

“Baby with the Bathwater” runs Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.

Nicole Kowalewski, Arts & Culture Editor

Come one, come all to RWU Theatre’s most recent venture, a zany, absurdist comedy you will not soon forget: Christopher Durang’s “Baby with the Bathwater.”

Perhaps the first word that comes to mind when thinking of the play is “bizarre,” quickly followed by “witty” and “darkly satirical.” “Baby” follows the life of a child born to perhaps the worst two parents anyone has ever heard of, both of whom are too wrapped up in their own absurdly selfish, childish concerns to even check the sex of their own infant. The family would be something straight out of a Roald Dahl novel if not for the very serious effects on the poor kid. Looking past the wildly inconsistent abuse and neglect inflicted upon the child– called simply “Baby” and “it” for several years– there is quite a bit of comedy to be found in these characters’ eccentricities. Baby’s father, for example, spends almost the entire show in his boxers.

The play begins in the 1980s as a new mother and father coo over their baby’s bassinet. This picturesque snapshot of domestic life is shattered almost immediately as the couple starts to argue over everything from what to call the baby to whether they should have had it in the first place, emotions seesawing wildly back and forth in a fashion that comes to define the plot’s surreal progression. It is clear from the very beginning that these people are not the nurturing type, in spite of the father’s repeated claims that the “immaturities of [his] youth are in the past.”

Eventually, Baby’s parents, still not bothering to learn their child’s sex, take a guess and decide to call the toddler Daisy. Plagued by ceaselessly outlandish (and hilarious) “adults,” Daisy accrues some…unique…coping mechanisms, including pretending that he (the gender identity he finally discovers at the age of 11) is an inanimate object for hours on end. As the years go by, the dismal state of poor Daisy’s life is revealed through several monologues delivered to the ominously disembodied voice of a psychiatrist, who can no more make sense of Daisy’s struggles than the man himself can. This is a recurring theme throughout the show, where a few well-meaning adults come close to intervening in Daisy’s life but are always thwarted by either their own peculiarities or those of others. Daisy, therefore, remains trapped in an endless cycle of misery and confusion.

The play ends in the same way it began as Daisy now has a new baby of his own. However, all is not lost, as it seems that in spite of thirty years of outlandish “parenting,” he might have a slightly better handle on the whole parenthood thing than his parents did. Unconventional, we learn, does not always have to be harmful.

The ending breaks from the line just enough to offer the audience a glimmer of hope in the face of the plot’s darkly humorous satire about what happens when what must be the most selfish, immature and moronic couple in the world attempt to raise a child. This, combined with the way the colorful characters’ flaws constantly cross over into the ridiculous keeps “Baby with the Bathwater” from feeling quite so heavy.

To see a group of your talented comedic classmates in an offbeat, absurdly funny satire, catch “Baby with the Bathwater” in the Performing Arts Center March 3 – 5 at 7:30 p.m. Student tickets can be purchased at the door or on for $5.