“Reborning”: Theater Review

It seems wrong to describe a play that hinges on trauma, suffering, and creepily realistic infant dolls as hilarious, but Reborning is just that. At times sitcom-y, at others heavily symbolic, Reborning bandies between levity and loss without missing a beat. Reborning-the-hobby is an art form that involves creating realistic replicas of babies for collectors. In Reborning-the-play, latex artist Kelly (Lauren English) creates babies to help people cope with the loss of their children, a practice that is rare in the real world, according to the bright-blue disclaimer that comes with the program. Portraying a young woman coming to grips with being abandoned at birth in truly horrific circumstances, English captures the quiet heaviness of Kelly's past with remarkable aptness and a barely concealed nervous energy. Daizy (Alexander Alioto) shines as her somewhat clueless yet well-intentioned dildo-making boyfriend, and Emily (Lorri Holt), Kelly's latest client, rounds out the small, exemplary cast with the marvelously addled air of a businesswoman in retreat from reality. Directed with just the right balance of rawness and finesse by Zayd Dohrn, Reborning proves that grim topics and taboos can also be damn funny. References to Sigmund Freud abound, proving that you can, in fact, say one thing but mean a mother.

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