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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: October 30, 2018

Musical premiering at Footlights tells the funny truth about infertility

Written by: Bob Keyes

James Gaddis and Megan Cross with Gretchen G. Wood. Photo courtesy of Footlights Theatre

At a party one night, Allen Baldwin and Rhad Davis began talking about the uncomfortable topic of making babies. More specifically, about being unable to make babies with their wives.

Baldwin, a filmmaker, casually mentioned that he wanted to write a musical comedy about the topic. “And a couple of days later, I woke up to a song about it in my inbox,” he said.

Davis, a composer, acted on the prompt and wrote the first song for what would become “Misconceptions,” an original new musical opening Thursday at Footlights Theatre in Falmouth. The song is called “Trying,” and it’s about a couple who find themselves always facing the questions, “Are you having kids?” and “Where are the babies?” Their answer: “We’re trying.”

It’s on stage through Nov. 17 and stars James Gaddis, Megan Cross and Gretchen G. Wood.

Baldwin has been working on the book for a few years as part of his master’s in creative writing at University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program and put up an early version at PortFringe in 2015. Though the topic of the musical may be awkward, Baldwin always envisioned this piece as a comedy. As he and his wife navigated many medical situations that left them flustered, laughter was the best way to cope. “The series of situations you find yourself in with this sort of problem, you just have to look at yourself and laugh. The things you have to do, the series of weird tests and treatments, it’s borderline foolish, and from the objective point of view, it’s hilarious,” he said. “It’s definitely an honest look at what sort of silly things you are made to go through as a couple when you are dealing with that situation.”

There’s also a bit of education and advocacy in “Misconceptions.” Infertility is a common problem, and people should feel comfortable talking about it, Baldwin said. About one in 10 couples have infertility issues, and many more couples experience involuntary childlessness for at least one year. As musical comedy, “Misconceptions” offers a talking-point about a subject that people don’t like to talk about.

“We’re not making fun of the difficult part of that experience,” Baldwin said. “It’s not easy. Psychologically, it’s a very difficult thing to be told that you are unable to reproduce biologically. It’s a very hard pill to swallow, especially when you look around and the grass is reproducing. The pigeons are reproducing, and your neighbors who have six kids and don’t like any of them are reproducing.”

“Misconceptions”

WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; through Nov. 17.
WHERE: Footlights Theatre, 190 Route 1, Falmouth
HOW MUCH: $15 to $20; pay what you can on Thursdays
INFO: thefootlightstheatre.com

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