Last Thursday I was at the opening of Don’t Blame it on the Stork by Tony Calabretta. Often when you have been to a bad play, you still learn something from it. This one taught me nothing. The script was so weak that it served as a singularly brilliant argument for public play readings for English language playwrights, because it would have been made clear to all involved that it was NOT READY for public consumption.
It is possible that an Italian audience was tuned into some kind of humour missed by someone of a different culture. But the blocking was just wrong, and some of the time the actors were masking each other. There was talent on that stage but it was fighting an uphill battle with turgid dialogue and badly constructed two-dimensional characters.
I believe that Calabretta might one day write something truly worthwhile, and with the right dramaturg he might produce a play worthy of production… which is the other mystery of Don’t Blame it on the Stork. What were the producers thinking? Thousands of dollars were spent on this play and yet even a first-year playwriting student could tell it lacked structure, went on too long, and didn’t have much to say.
The transitions between scenes were unbearably long and the audience applauded each one as though they were at the opera. The Leonardo da Vinci Theatre was in fact designed for opera and not for theatre, and the distance from the back of the house was so great a lot of the mumbled dialogue was lost on the audience.
Last year I attended a play which, much like this one, was a domestic drama which took place in St. Leonard. The St. Leonard Chronicles worked because Galluccio knows something about comedy, and timing, and most important; his director knew a lot about pacing a play. For a non-Italian woman, all that testosterone and machismo was hard to take without a large spoonful of comedy that worked.
Don’t Blame it on the Stork is at the Leonardo da Vinci Theatre (8370 Boul Lacordiare) until October 11, Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday matinées at 2 p.m. $34.50/$52.50.