When we were young, the search for a life partner was so organic a part of our lives that we barely understood what we were doing. We would study for geometry and fill out college applications and go to the movies or a rave with our friends, and then with one special friend, and then to our astonishment discover that we had given our hearts – and, thereafter, came marriage, children, a job in the insurance business, the kid’s college tuition, and death, in roughly that order.
But for some of us the early work misfired, for one reason or another, and we found ourselves at age forty, dating. These dates – and there is no use putting a fancy face on it – were like auditions or, worse, job interviews. We showed off our clothes, and our good shoes, and our snappy repartee, and hoped for the best. But sometimes our dates announced, in good ways and bad, that they weren’t participating – that they were interested in a person who was not us, or a gender in which we were not included. And we walked away from the experience full of self-loathing and despair.
Theresa Rebeck’s Bad Dates is not just about bad dates but about being Haley Walker (Janet Luby), which is also about bad shoes ($18,000 worth, by her own count), bad outfits, and bad life. Haley herself is…well, she’s not the greatest person, anyway. Haley is frivolous and a little self-absorbed; she cuts short her dating life – for five years! – because someone like her in the old Joan Crawford movie “Mildred Pierce” came to a bad end through dating. She admits that she goes through life taking short cuts – necessary, she argues, because she is a single mother without support elsewhere but also necessary to support her extensive footwear habit. (She celebrates a rare good date by buying a $400 pair.)
Closes January 26, 2014
Studio 194 in the
Chesapeake Arts Center
194 Hammonds Lane
Brooklyn Park, MD 21225
1 hour, 50 minutes with 1 intermission
Details and Tickets
Rebeck being Rebeck, though, the play is not about to stop at pleasantries about accessories. You’ll probably conclude that something is up when Haley reveals, early on, that the restaurant she manages is owned by the Romanian mob, and Rebeck salts the first Act with enough clues so that when things get darker, more twisted, and more satisfying in the second Act, it will still make sense. Once Haley moves away from the subject of Jimmy Choo and into the bad things, Luby makes her rounder and deeper and, oddly, more sympathetic.
Bay Theatre Company has left its Annapolis home and is in temporary quarters at the Chesapeake Arts Center in Brooklyn Park, MD. (Entrance to the performance space is around the back). Although some of the company has left, the fine set designer, Ken Sheats, continues to work his magic. Joanne and Mike Gidos are responsible for the props, including, presumptively, the mind-boggling collection of shoes.
Bad Dates by Theresa Rebeck . Directed by Richard Pilcher Featuring Janet Luby. Set design by Ken Sheats, Sound design by Natalie Pilcher, Costumes by Maggie Masson, Propos by Joanne and Mike Gidos, Lighting Design by Eric Lund, who, assisted by Julien Jacques, was also the stage manager. Produced by Bay Theatre Company Reviewed by Tim Treanor.