The Baltimore Waltz by Paula Vogel - Yale University, 2007 - Photos by Gary Jaffe    
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View the BALTIMORE WALTZ gallery.
Photos by Gary Jaffe
by Paula Vogel
Directed by Gary Jaffe

OCTOBER 11 - 13, 2007
at the Off Broadway Theatre
presented by the Yale University Sudler Fund

The Baltimore Waltz was my first full-length play as director, and it helped me discover what I value in theater: deeply personal storytelling, the ability to blur fantasy and reality, and tender, funny, beautiful things emerging from even the darkest emotional places. The play is a valentine from the playwright to her brother, whom she lost to HIV/AIDS. The Baltimore Waltz deals with her immediate denial of his death, as she envisions the tour through Europe which they never took together, alternating the cold sterility of a hospital room in Baltimore with a sumptuous fantasy Europe, albeit dogged by a noir-ish Third Man character. The Baltimore Waltz takes the significant images of her brother's death (his doctor, his stuffed rabbit, his bed, his illness), and kaleidoscopes them into a maddening, hilarious, and heartbreaking enactment of the sister's internal experience.

Featuring: Christine Garver, Lee Seymour (both featured left), Cory Finley, Jo-Jo the Rabbit.

Scenic Design by Samo Gale; Lighting Design by S.B.K. Weintraub; Costume Design by Anna Aleksandrova



"[The Baltimore Waltz] transports its audience to an outrageous fantasy world that is equally humorous and disorienting, yet has moments that ring surprisingly true. Carl’s comment is one of many bits of real-life wisdom Vogel subtly sprinkles throughout a show full of absurdity and confusion. Some pieces of dialogue are repeated by different characters in varied contexts throughout the show, lending meaning to an otherwise ordinary phrase. The universal themes of sibling love and barriers in communication provide the audience with something familiar to grasp and give the show a touching realism, as does the poignant twist ending.

[...] Much of the dialogue, soundtrack and costuming (a gruff German lover wears boxers with a Communist hammer and sickle) is fantastic. The actors have believable chemistry and succeed in keeping the audience’s attention. Seymour especially possesses a remarkable ability to bring Vogel’s eccentric characters to life. The Dutch school boy Wilhelm’s story about getting his finger stuck in the dike and the attempts of an old German man to explain the death of Carl’s friend, (“Auto … SHPLATZ!”) are hilarious and captivating."

Hilary Faxon,
Yale Daily News

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