Like the people in the allegorical Tower of Babel, the citizens of Jacqueline Goldfinger’s futuristic Babel are seeking oneness. The kind of oneness that mankind has never reasonably come close to, because each person is born with a set of characteristics, skills, and behaviors—unless we engage in eugenics. In an eerily not-so-distant-seeming future, Goldfinger’s world is one in which would-be parents are put through numerous tests to ensure their progeny are certifiable.
And that is where audiences are left to reckon with how close we are to the dangerous crossroads of the way things are and the way things could be. In the world of Babel, mass shootings are almost nonexistent, as is violent crime. Children born are deemed perfect or done away with before they inconvenience the world.
Through 4/30: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3:30 PM, Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, redtwisttheatre.org, $40 (senior/student/military $35)
Michael Sherwin as Jamie and the Stork guides anxious mom-to-be Renee (Monique Marshaun) through the arduous certification. Clad in a Plague Doctor visage (created by Nick Gardin) as the Stork, Sherwin is a robotic-seeming Jiminy Cricket of sorts, here to quell Marshaun’s vivid portrayal of anxiety as she determines her next steps in potential parenthood. Meantime, Shannon Leigh Webber as Renee’s overprotective wife, Dani, and Soleil Pérez as Ann, Jamie’s pervasively insistent spouse, weigh in from the sidelines.
What draws you into Redtwist’s Babel (directed by Rinska Carrasco-Prestinary) is the uncanny nature of the unfolding scenes. Moments of gentle kindness between soon-to-be parents quickly transform into suspicious paranoia. When you’re finally given a chance to breathe, more fully understanding the world’s eugenics phenomenon, another complication arises. By the end, all you are left with is a deep sense of dread that we are slowly approaching this Tower of Babel sort of reality. But there’s also a deeper hope that we can topple the tower ourselves.