|Kelly AuCoin, as Peter, Kerry Butler as Annie with Eisa Davis as Rebecca and Crystal A. Dickinson as Drea in Tanya Barfield’s “The Call” at Playwrights Horizons. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.|
Couples desperate to be parents often use hope and sometimes each other in their efforts to conceive.
In Tanya Barfield’s new drama, “The Call,” in a joint Playwrights Horizons and Primary Stages production at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater extended to May 26th, the struggle to adopt just prolongs the agonies of a young married pair.
Annie (Kerry Butler) and Peter (Kelly AuCoin) suffer mightily for the want of a child. One can see the yearning in Peter’s eyes as they assemble a crib in their spare room.
|Kerry Butler as Annie, Kelly AuCoin as Peter, Russell G. Jones as Alemu, Crystal A. Dickinson as Drea and Eisa Davis as Rebecca in Tanya Barfield’s “The Call.” Photo by Jeremy Daniel.|
Over dinner with a couple, Drea (Crystal A. Dickinson) and Rebecca (Eisa Davis) who have just returned from Africa where they got married, share their expectations of a private adoption. When the birth mother backs out, Peter and Annie are unmoored. Peter presses Annie into seeking help from an agency. The fact that the child they hope to parent will come from Africa stirs up concerns from them and their friends and a neighbor.
|Kelly AuCoin as Peter with Eisa Davis as Rebecca, Crystal A. Dickinson (standing) as Drea and Kerry Butler as Annie in “The Call.” Photo by Jeremy Daniel.|
“The Call,” directed by Leigh Silverman moves a bit slowly through the first act, but is grippingly transcendent in the second. The actors acquit themselves splendidly, with Russell G. Jones, as Alemu, an odd African neighbor of Peter and Annie’s, adding a poignant humor to the story. Crystal A. Dickinson stands out in the fine ensemble as Drea, the truth-talking girlfriend of Peter and Annie’s old friend Rebecca.
At its heart, “The Call” is a parlor drama, exploring relationships, race and responsibility in a well-written, intelligent play that is also thought-provoking and likeable.