Cradle and All, Set in Brooklyn Heights, a Mirror or Mockery?

Daniel Goldfarb’s Cradle and All set in two adjacent Brooklyn Heights apartments is now playing at City Center. The play chronicles the lives of two couples, both played by Greg Keller and Maria Dizzia, one who have decided not to have children and the other dealing with sleep training an 11 month old. Read what the New York Times and Daily News have to say about it after the jump. Interested in seeing this production? Have an opinion on the play’s theme? Comment away!

NY Times: “Our careers have totally superseded everything else,” she laments. “And neither of us even like our careers. We go to the same restaurants and order the same dishes and have the same conversations as we eat those same dishes.”

Luke would prefer any conversation to this one, it is clear. He remains adamant in his aversion to children. Claire’s anguished recounting of an abortion she had to secure what she thought would be a life-changing role scarcely draws a ripple of sympathy to his chilly surface. This issue has long since been settled, as far as Luke is concerned.

Although she hardly looks old enough to play an actress facing career oblivion and hearing the clock ticking from every pore, Ms. Dizzia gives a movingly nuanced performance as Claire implores, wheedles, cajoles and finally simply lays bare the raw hunger she feels for a child. That revelatory monologue strikes a slightly stagy note in this naturalistic play, but Ms. Dizzia delivers it with a quiet matter-of-factness that gives us a piercing glimpse of the soul scars that have formed over this old wound.

“I could have had something real,” she says, “an 18-year-old son or daughter right now. Instead I have a mediocre reel documenting how pretty I used to be.”

NY Daily News: Besides having two actors play all the parts, the playwright shrewdly drives home the point about parallel lives by having dialogue and plot points echo in each half. It’s fitting, since each couple, to a degree, covets what the other has.

The best thing about the play is that characters surprise you and deepen — Luke, in particular. Sporting pricey Paul Smith glasses and a chilly attitude, he initially comes off as yet another annoying yuppie. It’s great to get to see the chinks in his armor.

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  • Linda

    I saw the play two weeks ago and I enjoyed it.
    I raised my two children almost 35 years ago and I can tell you that putting a child to bed was a lot easier in those days.
    Now they refer to it as “sleep training”. Who knew?