Inspired by Elyse Gasco's award-winning book Can you Wave Bye Bye, Baby? comes her first play — a dramatic comedy about truth, redemption, and forgiveness. With a cast that includes Alison Darcy, internationally-acclaimed dancer Margie Gillis, Leni Parker, France Rolland, and Felicia Shulman, Bye Bye Baby follows one woman's search to uncover the truth about her birth mother and about herself.
The protagonist, Elle, is a charming young woman. Having been adopted as a baby and never knowing her birth mother, Elle struggles to make sense of her life and identity. Now, being pregnant herself, Elle embarks on finding out who she is and where she came from but is cut short by the bureaucratic red-tape of Social Services that is the only link to the truth of her origins.
The play attempts to juxtapose the magical and metaphorical with Elle's concrete day-to-day experiences but, unfortunately, it falls short of doing so. I found that the magical and metaphorical elements of the play worked well as standalone but interspersed by the concrete, the play seemed neither here nor there. Perhaps for the same reason, the play lacked cohesion and oftentimes came across as being contrived — trying too hard to be clever and witty. I wanted to hear and see more of Gasco and less of the artists alluded to (ie. Robert Lepage, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen). In this regard, I found the dream scene worked very well.
Although the elusive birth mother, doting adoptive mother, the growing foetus, and the chatty social worker all serve a purpose (being either present or absent in Elle's life) the image-birthmother (played by Margie Gillis) and the image-Elle (played by France Rolland) were excessive. Maybe a clever idea on paper, but on the stage, I found these two characters to be obtrusive if not a nuisance.
That being said, I do have to commend the actors for their absolutely top-notch performance. I recommend you see the play even if just for the acting!
Bye Bye Baby
Presented by Imago Theatre
At the Monument National, 1182 St-Laurent
November 11-20, 2004, 8:30pm