Baby Foot Review – One Day at a Time

Daniel Dorr and Hope Lauren in BABY FOOT - Photo by Jeff Lorch
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Penned by Tim Venable, BABY FOOT outlines an addict’s journey to sobriety. To quote the author, “I have been given the profound gift of sobriety for nearly twenty years. As I was writing the play, I felt very deeply that I wanted to be true to that experience and tell the story in a meaningful and entertaining way…like life, it’s funny, sexy, surprising, and hopeful…it will resonate with people who aren’t necessarily familiar with addiction/alcoholism, because we see in the characters the very human need to find hope in times of profound uncertainty.” The Rogue Machine brings Venable’s tale to life in the West Coast premiere of BABY FOOT.

Hope Lauren – Photo by Jeff Lorch

Excited but also wary, Alexis (Hope Lauren) will leave the rehabilitation program tomorrow morning after 90 days of sobriety. Long-timer cum janitor and everybody’s sounding board, recovering alcoholic Fred (Paul DeBoy) has been keeping an eye on things for decades. He’s been there himself, and he knows the secrets in everyone’s portfolio.  When he tells Alexis that he knew she’d make it, it isn’t just empty words. As she studies the Big Book on her last night, Blackie (Daniel Dorr) enters. He has just arrived at the rehab, and he’s anxious, jumpy, and unable to sleep. Thus, two damaged souls meet in the wee hours of the morning, a meeting which may be momentous – or a serious mistake – but will surely have an impact on where their lives are headed. There may be a reason why AA/NA definitely does not recommend a relationship during recovery.

Daniel Dorr – Photo by Jeff Lorch

BABY FOOT is an intimate piece in an intimate setting. As the characters weave between audience members seated here and there and everywhere, their every nuanced expression is clear and compelllng. This is a special kind of theater, one in which there are no barriers between performers and onlookers. The audience almost becomes part of the action – often through chuckles and groans. Venable does an excellent job of helming his own script. He’s been there and done that – and he draws those feelings out of his cast of three. The talented trio work well together as the drama moves to its inevitable end.

Paul DeBoy – Photo by Jeff Lorch

The set is simple and homey – but just a bit tattered and worn – very much like a typical community rehabilitation center for addicts/alcoholics, where funding is often chancy and less-than-adequate. Congratulations to the production team, who take a very small space and make it resonate. Tension builds slowly – but everyone in the room knows that sobriety may be at risk. BABY FOOT feels like a slice of real life, and we are all flies on the wall waiting for something to happen. In other words, the script for BABY FOOT is perfect for the venue.

Hope Lauren and Daniel Dorr – Photo by Jeff Lorch

BABY FOOT is a common-enough story about the recovery process – but the actors and staff who make it possible breathe life into the tale. The play is recommended, especially if the issue of substance abuse has arisen among family or friends. But it is also a fascinating peek at the addict’s life – and just how hard sobriety can be.

BABY FOOT runs through November 20, 2023, with performances at 7 p.m. on Fridays, at 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and at 8 p.m. on Mondays. The Rogue Machine performs at the Henry Murray Stage in the Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 9042. For information and reservations, call 855-585-5185 or go online.

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