#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: October Baby

by Terry Holzman

Quick peeks at the work of #HFF17 female playwrights, “Women on the Fringe,” by Fringe Femmes who’re behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins.

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Brooke Baumer

WHAT: October Baby

WHERE: studio/stage

WHY: No one is more obsessed with the month of October than Brooke Baumer. The autumn palette, pumpkin bread, and (oh-my- gawd!) Halloween cause her to squeeeeeeal in delight. Brooke’s also a fanatical planner; so when she decides she wants a second child, why not give birth during her favorite month? Things go pretty well in that direction…until they don’t. A unique (and true) solo show about motherhood and letting go of things that don’t really matter.

Working LA actress Brooke Baumer jumps right into “October Baby” (which was well-received at Solofest 2017—the largest solo theater festival on the West Coast) by telling the audience how completely obsessed she is with that tenth month of the year. She brings out her favorite mustard-colored sweater and shows slides of her Halloween costumes throughout the years, but “just” loving October is not enough for Brooke. Oh no, she strives for a much bigger prize—Brooke feels she must give birth to her second child during her favorite month. How hard could that be?

Does this obstetrical goal sound a “tad” compulsive? You have no idea! Brooke admits she fixates on controlling things so why not include her pregnancy? She plots her strategy as if it were the D-Day invasion, gets her husband on board (yes, he does play a “minor” part), and the story takes off. (I won’t go into details because the twists and turns in this unique and well-told tale are worth the surprise.)

Brooke is a passionate and sharp storyteller and has a wonderful stage presence. Comedy is Brooke’s bread-and- butter (or perhaps “comedy is her candy corn”?) and I was laughing from the start. The story flows with ease and at a good pace. She kept me on the edge of my seat because her story has more change-ups than a MLB pitcher! And after the laughs come “the feels” and by the end, I had tears in my eyes…in a good way.

Solo-show diva Jessica Lynn Johnson, directs and the show moves. I loved that Brooke showed us photos and even a bit of film footage to assist her story. She even gave out Halloween candy as we left the theater! A nice touch.

HOW: http://hff17.org/4321

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