Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel’s play “Baltimore Waltz” opens at the Theatre UCF Black Box on Thursday, Sept. 18, and runs through Sept. 28.
The play is a personal one for playwright Vogel, who wrote the script after losing her brother from complications due to AIDS in the late 1980s. While the play never refers directly to AIDS, the play centers around two siblings, Carl and Anna, one of whom contracts the fictional terminal illness “Acquired Toilet Disease.” The brother and sister then embark on a whirlwind romp through Europe in hopes of finding a cure—and having a little fun along the way. The pair is accompanied by “The Third Man,” who plays the roles of people they encounter on their odyssey.
Director Julia Listengarten is drawn to the imaginative quality of the play, in which the characters, when faced with the loss of a beloved sibling, blur the line between reality and fantasy. “We waltz with both reality and fantasy and how our imagination transforms our immediate circumstances, forces us to confront fears and release anxieties, and, most importantly, leads us through the healing process,” she says.
Alex Bair, a senior musical theatre major, plays the role of Carl. “Carl is a lot like me,” he says.
“I feel a deep personal connection to him. He has a flamboyant sense of humor, he can be a little raunchy and likes to be sexually suggestive. And he has to always be in control of a situation, sometimes to a fault. I’ve had to be brutally honest with myself while discovering this character.”
“Baltimore Waltz,” says Bair, is a good play for a university department. “The characters are young but it’s also a story about lessons. It’s a lesson on coping when you know that you are losing someone you love. Just like in real life, sad times aren’t all sad. Anna and Carl have fun moments, playfulness, sexual awakening. And it’s a lesson on how great of an escape our imaginations can be. I learned this lesson already [while playing the role of the Man in the Chair] in The Drowsy Chaperone, but it’s one that bears repeating.”
Baltimore Waltz contains sexual content and profanity. It is not appropriate for children.
Production at a glance:
By Paula Vogel
Directed by Julia Listengarten
Sept. 18, 19, 20*, 25, 26, 27 at 8 p.m.
Sept. 21, 28 at 2 p.m.
$20 standard, $18 senior, $10 student
Black Box, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando
*There is a UCF home football game on Saturday, Sept. 20. Parking for this performance will be in Lot B-4. Please allow for extra travel time.
For more information about Theatre UCF, visit http://theatre.ucf.edu.