ALBANY — For those theater-goers who seek the scary and unsettling, Laura Marks’s taut, little chiller of a play, “Mine,” will haunt you long after you leave.
Young twenty-somethings Mari (Brigitta Giulianelli) and Peter (Isaac Newberry) are having a baby. And the baby is arriving now! Present for the home birth — which takes place in the show’s opening moments — are Mari’s mom, Rina (a wonderfully nervous Kathleen Riley), and Joan, the calm and able midwife (played here by theater vet Emer Geraghty).
All goes well and everyone seems happy. All except a mysterious young woman who calls herself Amy who has spent the evening angrily pacing outside the apartment. Hmm, that’s a bit creepy and a tad foreboding.
The next day, Mari’s joy is gone. The baby smells different, the baby looks different and Mari becomes convinced that the child in the cradle next to her bed is not her child. Someone somehow has taken her child and left her a changeling instead.
Over the next 80 minutes we squirm as Mari struggles to source fact from fiction and battle with her newly arrived demons. Which may or may not be imagined.
A tale full of fear and fable, Marks’ play summons the scariest kind of horror — the storybook kind. Using the folk legend of the changeling as an inspiration, Marks drops this twice-told tale into a modern setting quite adroitly creating the unease that nasty fairy stories told to us in our youth may have been true all along.
Is Mari suffering from post partum depression? Possibly.
Is she being “gaslighted?”
Has she just given birth to Rosemary’s Baby?
Or has she stumbled into the netherworld of Caryl Churchill’s post natal psychological horror trip in, “The Skirker”?
This is anybody’s guess. What is crystal clear is that Prozac is not going to fix this.
Creative License has assembled an excellent cast and “Mine” is well performed under director Casey Polomaine’s more than capable hand.
Giulianelli masterfully finds Mari’s balance as the character teeters on the edge of her emotional sanity. It’s a very good performance devoid of potential emotional histrionics that would have distracted and weakened the tale.
Peter’s relaxed and easygoing persona is easily worn by Newberry who provides the perfect emotional punch in the final scene of the play.
Reilly is a marvel finding motherly concern as Mari’s worried mom Risa and providing honest warmth that never cloys or drifts into cliché.
Concerned, efficient and available, Geraghty’s Joan is just about perfect, proving that Mari and Peter called the right midwife.
Whether she’s a spectral presence, a malevolent fairy or a manifestation of Mari’s mind, Meigg Jupin is maleficent! At times manic, at times pleasant, Jupin’s intense portrayal is a memorable one, capturing all of Amy’s chill and thrill.
For those who like their theater a bit on the scary side, go and make “Mine” yours. Recommended.
Where: Creative License, Albany Barn, 56 Second St., Albany
When: Through April 28
How much: $15
More info: creativelicenseonline.com