At Arlene Bujese Gallery in East Hampton, NY (1995)
Directed and Designed by Maria Pessino
ABOUT THE PLAY
The Baltimore Waltz is a play by Paula Vogel. Essentially a series of comic vignettes underlined by tragedy, the farce traces the European odyssey of sister and brother Anna and Carl, in search of hedonistic pleasure and a cure for her terminal illness, the fictitious ATD (Acquired Toilet Disease) she contracted by using the bathrooms at the elementary school where she teaches.
Knowing her life is nearing its end, Anna is driven by a lust that compels her to have casual sex with as many men as possible during their travels, a passion shared by her gay brother. Assisting the pair is the mysterious Third Man, a reference to the classic suspense film starring Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles, to which Vogel frequently alludes in detail.
The play was Vogel's response to the 1988 death of her brother Carl, who died from complications due to AIDS before they were able to enjoy a long planned European vacation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A productive playwright since the late 1970s, Vogel first came to national prominence with her AIDS-related seriocomedy The Baltimore Waltz, which won the Obie award for Best Play in 1992. She is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning play How I Learned To Drive (1997), which examines the impact and echoes of child sexual abuse and incest. Other notable plays include Desdemona, A Play About A Handkerchief (1979); The Oldest Profession (1981); And Baby Makes Seven (1984); "Hot 'N Throbbing" (1994); and The Mineola Twins (1996).
Although no particular theme or topic dominates her work, she often examines traditionally controversial issues such as sexual abuse, and prostitution. Asserting that she "writes the play backwards," moving from emotional circumstances and character to craft narrative structure, Vogel says, "My writing isn't actually guided by issues ... I only write about things that directly impact my life." Vogel's family, especially her late brother Carl Vogel, serves as an influence to her writings. Carl's likeness appears in such plays as The Long Christmas Ride Home (2003), The Baltimore Waltz, and And Baby Makes Seven.
Diane Grotke, Lane Luckart and James Walsh
Elisabeth Willoughby – Stage Manager, Lights operator
Odd Fellows' Labor Of Love at Bujese The East Hampton Independent - August 2, 1995 Roger Ziegler view article (pdf)
Stage Write: The Baltimore Waltz The East Hampton Independent - August 9, 1995 Bridget LeRoy view article (pdf)
Reviews: A Dreamy, Surreal Dance With Death Newsday - August 11, 1995 Steve Parks view article(pdf)
"Baltimore Waltz" Confusion, Rewards The Southampton Press Steve Parks view article (pdf)