‘Baby’s Breath’ Tells Extraordinary Tale of Baby Growing in Woman’s Lung

“Baby’s Breath,” written and directed by Jeana Scotti, tells the story of Beatrice, who has recently found out about an unexpected pregnancy. Going against nature and biology, the baby is developing inside her lung. This unborn baby takes Beatrice, her roommate, the baby’s unsupportive father and an obsessive shoe salesman on a journey of life, breath and selflessness. Its world premiere will be presented September 1 to 5, 2015 at Producers’ Club Theaters, 358 West 44th Street by Theater for the New City’s 2015 Dream Up Festival.

“Baby’s Breath” often employs overlapping dialogue that allows us to get two perspectives simultaneously, by which we quickly get to know the characters’ rivaling voices. Each faces their own struggles, whether it be unrequited love, a fear of commitment, or a lack of direction in life. The baby becomes a catalyst that triggers self-reflection and causes each character to change in some way and reassess their lives. The title is a floral metaphor: the baby is in the background, much like the baby’s breath plant that serves as a backdrop to a bouquet of flowers, but is nonetheless subtly guiding the actions of those surrounding it.

A Fresh Start

Harriet Weaver and Stacey Hull. Photo by Maia SaccaSchaeffer

The baby also represents a fresh start, a new breath. Beatrice herself struggles to accept this seemingly impossible event and she is unsure whether or not she wants to keep the baby. Each time she breathes so does the baby and this unison of sucking in life comes to connect her with the child on a deep level. They sustain one another and the baby’s presence helps her breathe easier than she ever has. As time goes on Beatrice becomes more and more attached to the unborn baby and starts to think less about her own well-being. Will the cost of having the baby be her life?

Jeana Scotti (playwright and director) is a director, playwright and performer. Her past directing credits include “Alveoli” (Strawberry One Act Festival finalist), “Dehydration” (original one act, Purchase College Performing Arts Center) and “The Melancholy Play” by Sarah Ruhl (staged reading, Purchase College). Her assistant directing credits include “Thumbprint” (Prototype Festival), “Project Gen” (CAPA) and “The Trojan Women” (Purchase College Repertory). Scotti has interned with Ripe Time, Horse Trade and the Wax Factory. She got her BA at Purchase College in Theatre and Performance with a concentration in directing and minor in Playwriting.

The cast features Harriet Weaver, Stacey Hull, Andrew Jones, Tommy Norton, and Robert McEvily.

Assistant Director is Meghan Maloney, lighting design is by Myllicent Felder, and sound design is by Miiko Valkonen.

Sixth Dream Up Festival

The sixth Dream Up Festival (www.dreamupfestival.org) will be presented by Theater for the New City (TNC) from August 30 to September 20, 2015, offering a lineup of wide-ranging and original theatrical visions embracing drama, musicals, improv, aerial and more. This year, owing to growing popularity, the festival has expanded beyond its primary venue. Previously, all productions were presented at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. This year, 19 productions will be presented at TNC and seven will be presented at an outside venue, The Producers Club Theaters at 358 West 44th Street.

The festival is dedicated to new works. TNC feels this festival is especially needed now in a time of declining donations to the arts, when grants are not being awarded due to market conditions and arts funding is being cut across the country and abroad. The festival aims to push ideas to the forefront through imaginative presentations so as to challenge audience expectations and make us question our understanding of the way art illuminates the world around us.

The show is presented by Theater for the New City (Crystal Field, Artistic Director) as part of the Dream Up Festival 2015 from September 1 to September 5. Performances are September 1 at 6:30 PM, September 2 at 9:00 PM, September 3 at 6:30 PM, September 4 at 9:00 PM, September 5 at 5:00 PM at the Producers’ Club Theaters, 358 West 44th Street. Tickets are $15. Box office is (212) 254-1109. You can find more information and purchase tickets at www.dreamupfestival.org.