By Tom Hauck
In the New England Premiere of the satirical comedy written and directed by Israel Horovitz, the “babes” in question are four adult women who gather in the Paris apartment of a recently deceased centenarian with whom they all had something important in common: During different times in the long life of the unnamed Lothario, each was his wife or live-in girlfriend. Israel Horovitz, author of more than 70 plays and the artistic director emeritus of GSC, wrote that the play is the second of a trilogy designed to be “confrontations of French and American cultures: American attitude towards love and marriage versus French attitude towards love and marriage.”
The four brilliant actors – Paula Plum (Evvie), Debra Wise (Evelyn), Sarah Hickler (Janice), and Obehi Janice (Marie-Belle) – wring from the volatile premise every possible laugh. To the apartment each brings her own memories and perceptions of the dearly departed, a Sorbonne professor who more closely resembled a cult leader: a glib narcissist who enchanted, deceived, and infuriated his many lovers. In short, when “the babes” get together, there’s plenty to talk about!
The action takes place on a stunning set designed by Jenna McFarland Lord. Complete with floor-to-ceiling modernist paintings (which happen to be for sale – you, the audience member, can buy one!), the imaginatively lit space makes you feel as though you’re on the Left Bank with a canal outside and a patisserie just around the corner. Rugs from Landry & Arcari and sleek furniture from be modern complete the funky-but-chic ambience.
Over a period of twenty-four hours, the four women reveal many dark and hilarious secrets, both about themselves and their departed lover who still holds their hearts. Initial antagonism turns to sororal bonding, and with the help of mysterious spiritual messages from beyond the grave the unlikely quartet turn the corner and bravely face the future.
Out of the Mouths of Babes runs from August 11 through September 2. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. For tickets call 978-281-4433 or visit gloucesterstage.com.
Opening snapshots Out of the Mouths of Babes