Babies With Rabies
A play in two acts
This joyous, silly farce is an affectionate and knowing look at the trials and tribulations of making theatre in the off-off-Broadway world, where it sometimes seems like the inmates have started running the asylum.
It started with the title. I thought, "Wouldn't that make a fabulous title for a play?" I've always admired Michael Frayn's play Noises Off, so I wanted to do something similar. However, I believed I had to up the ante, so Babies With Rabies had to be a play within a play within a play. And since I was doing that, I figured I might throw in some of Shakespeare's farcical elements such as hijinks involving identical twins (as in The Comedy of Errors and Twelfth Night) and women who try to pass off as men. Then I tossed in a bit of Marat/Sade, and since I now have lunatics, I thought someone with multiple personalities would be funny. (Why the hell not?) I ended up with a play damn near impossible to pull off. (Though I dare anyone to try)
Babies With Rabies was produced Off-Off Broadway in 2006 by Cuchipinoy Productions. It was directed by Rodney Reyes and featured Rob Moretti, Erwin Falcon, Tom McCartan, Tami Gebhardt, Andrew Rothkin, Kelly Rauch, and Dennis Lemoine.
Max – Tarantino-esque director with a soft side and can be a bit of a pushover.
Plays: Thirteen – Evil and enigmatic, Stage Manager for Babies with Rabies
Jonesy – Outwardly timid playwright, but not someone you mess with.
Plays: Eighty Seven – Stalwart and heroic Props guy for Babies With Rabies.
Miriam – The ingénue. Eager to please. Inexperienced actress.
Plays: Twenty Four – The OCD anxiety ridden damsel in distress.
Plays: Sally – The tragic best friend.
Quincy – The stage manager. Meticulous to a fault.
Plays: Sixty Nine – Maniacal director of Babies With Rabies. A cannibal.
Plays: Narrator – harlequin-esque narrator of the show.
Prince – the stately ruler of the land.
Al – Older actor. Sexually frustrated and a bit of a lecher.
Plays: Five – The oldest mental patient in the institution. Timid and follows the rules out of fear. Suffers from a multiple personality disorder.
Plays: Doc – The absent minded but brilliant professor and ward to Terry.
Seven – Thinks he is Sigmund Freud.
Nine – Has a lisp. Thinks he is Satan.
Winston – A handsome well built jock in nerd’s clothing. Inexperienced and a bit of a Mommy’s boy.
Plays: Forty Five – Evil henchman. Afraid of the dark.
Plays: Larry - The pauper hero in love.
Fifty Four – Forty Five’s identical twin. Not so evil. Allergic to light.
Plays: Gary – Larry’s rich evil twin.
Tina – The diva and star of the show (in her own mind).
Plays: Thirty Seven – Hypochondriac mastermind of the evil plot.
Plays: Terry – The heroine who must pretend to be a man in order to save the world.
There are two major scenes that must transition very quickly between each other. Backstage of the asylum's "stage" and the front of the stage, which depicts various scenes in the innermost play. For the crucial scene at Gary's house, we need a door (for slamming) and a curtain to hide behind.
It's Noises Off meets Marat/Sade. A group of Off-Off Broadway theatre people, led by Max the director and Jonesy the playwright attempt to put on a play about a group of inmates in an asylum putting on a play about a dystopian world where a plague causes toddlers to turn homicidal. Max wants his secret girlfriend Tina to have the star turn, while Jonesy is trying to impress Miriam's bigwig father by making her the star. Meanwhile, the inmates are planning on taking over the asylum in the middle of putting on a play, but not all the inmates are in on the plot. Finally, Terry goes on a mission to infiltrate evil scientist Gary's lab in order to find a cure for the dread disease plaguing the land. (This all makes more sense on stage, I promise)