Acclaimed Palm Springs playwright/director Tony Padilla picked up his playwriting pen along with his creative thinking cap and added two new characters to one of his award-winning plays of some fifteen years ago.
The result is a rich exploration of how four individuals – one a husband and wife and two female ‘old maids’ – react to the discovery of finding an abandoned baby in a trash container in New York City’s Central Park.
“Endangered Species” written and directed by Padilla stars Bonnie Gilgallon as Tina, a suburban Chicago housewife married to David a successful businessman played by Alan Berry. The couple married over twenty years are in New York on a holiday where they plan to relax and recharge their romantic batteries.
When Tina discovers the baby in the trash container, she tells David to do something. Instead of doing ‘something’ he backs off saying “we don’t want to get involved with someone else’s problem, especially tonight. Remember, we have dinner reservations and the ritziest restaurant in New York, and tickets to the hottest show on Broadway. Let’s just leave”. Tina is horrified by David’s callousness. David exposes a side of himself that Tina has never seen before. It’s often been said that we really don’t know one another’s true nature until it’s been tested in stressful or emergency conditions.
There are no spoiler alerts coming from me at this point. However, I will say, that the audience must wait until the second couple: Yo Younger as Teresa, and her traveling companion Daria, played by Denise Strand, discover the baby as well.
The talented performances of the four actors is what makes this somewhat off-putting story work. Theatrical drama is meant to challenge the status quo (comedy plays do it as well). The playwright’s message or personal point of view it’s also meant to get the audience to think introspectively. The beauty of theatre is that it allows for ‘what if’ scenarios for audiences, playwrights, and actors alike. This production is a true ensemble effort mirroring the name of the acting company – Desert Ensemble Theatre.
“Endangered Species, directed Tony Padilla performs at the Pearl McManus Theatre, in the Palm Springs Woman’s Club located at 314 S. Cahuilla Road. There are just three more performances: March 18, 19, and 20. For reservations, ticket information and curtain times call the Box Office at 760-565 2476.