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Beyond Therapy/Baby with the Bath Water



Bruce and Prudence are deeply into therapy. Prudence’s macho therapist is urging her to be more assertive, while Bruce’s wacky female therapist wants him to meet women by placing a personal ad. She does not fully comprehend that Bruce has a male lover who is not pleased by Bruce’s desire to date a woman. Bruce doesn’t know how to handle poor, nervous Prudence, and Prudence doesn’t know what to make of her unpredictable new boyfriend. They do learn to live beyond therapy in this delightful Off Broadway hit that moved successfully to Broadway. / An absurdist, dark comedy, Baby with the Bathwater, starts with new parents John and Helen staring lovingly at their baby, Daisy. The scene quickly takes a turn, however, as the couple show absolutely no knowledge of how to adequately care for their child. They have determined not to look at the gender of their child, so as to not be impolite and have simply assumed that the baby is a girl (when in fact, the baby is a boy); they sing horrifying lyrics to the tune of “Hush Little Baby”. Luckily, a nanny shows up, appropriately dubbed “Nanny” — but she turns out to be a Mary-Poppins-Gone-Wrong. Daisy is tossed, screamed at, handed a poisonous toy, and even stolen by a disturbed woman, who proceeds to run in front of a bus. Needless to say, as the play continues, Daisy grows up to be quite an unstable child, with a tendency to run in front of moving objects, sleep with inordinate numbers of partners, and take thirteen years to get through his sophomore year of college. After three hundred seventy-seven sessions with a therapist, Daisy is told, “Pull yourself together! You’re smart, you have resources, you can’t blame them forever. Move on with it!” Somehow this reprimand is the advice Daisy finally needed to hear to move on with his life. He settles down with one of the 1,756 people with whom he had sex: a nice lady named Susan. When they have a child of their own, Daisy starts to repeat the cycle by singing the terrifying lyrics to “Hush Little Baby” that he learned from his parents, but — upon realizing what he is doing — Daisy changes the words. They still are not the classical words to “Hush Little Baby,” but they are certainly less horrible. It is a step in the right direction.

Character Breakdown