Within The Glass
breaks new ground
A gutsy drama about an embryo transplant mix-up
By Byron Toben
There have been a few plays or movies involving the subject of surrogate mothers from as far as France, Italy and Hong Kong. In North America, we remember Tina Fey in Baby Mama (2008) and Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale (1990).
Despite Mayor Drapeau’s denial of the possibility, there was even a pregnant man (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in Junior (1994).
What playwright Anna Chatterton has done in Within The Glass is to combine the subject with the rarer depiction of an embryo transplant mix-up.
The complicated dilemmas emanating from that demand an intimate setting and an emotive but nuanced cast. All this is tailor-made for d² productions, the “small but mighty” local independent theatre group operated by producer/director Dale Hayes.
Long-time production manager Max Mehran gets to work here in a more upscale venue, the Segal Centre studio space, than budgets usually dictate.
The complicated dilemmas… demand an intimate setting and an emotive but nuanced cast. All this is tailor-made for d² productions…
The two women in the cast are frequent actors in d² shows. Leigh Ann Taylor plays Darah who has been unsuccessful with several years of in vitro attempts. Helena Levitt is Linda, the recipient of the wrong embryo.
Darah’s husband, Micheal (Steve Gillam) is a successful businessman of the affluent couple. Linda’s husband, Scott (Daniel Gervais) is a teacher/poet of the less affluent couple.
The two couples finally meet at Darah and Michael’s house to discuss what is to be done.
All kinds of issues, great and small, come up, ranging from vegetarianism, travel, and drinking alcohol to abortion, adoption, shared parenthood and litigation. Is the embryo a baby yet or just a “fetus”? Does DNA triumph over blood and nutrients? Does jealousy lurk in the background?
Hopefully, this gutsy drama can be remounted. A shame that it is performed only 5 times over 4 days.
In closing, I cannot resist inserting here Paul Anka’s classic song, Having My Baby.
Within The Glass ends at the Segal Centre on March 31.
Images: James Douglas
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.