IAMA Theatre is presenting UNTITLED BABY PLAY, by Nina Braddock, directed by Katie Lindsay. In it, six women, friends since their school years, are trapped in an email chain as they plan a baby shower for a seventh friend. These are now grown women maintaining a decades-long friendship despite careers, families, insecurities, and even some secrets. 

Not surprisingly, personalities and opinions clash during the planning, as childhood best friend Penny (played by wonderfully intense Sonal Shah) wants a much fancier and expensive shower than college best friend (and so easy to identify with!) Meredith (played by Laila Ayad). Eden (Sarah Utterback) and Gillian (Courtney Sauls) have also known the mom-to-be since elementary school, but their own question marks about motherhood, and their desire to keep the peace, keep them on the sidelines. 

There are two other college friends involved, although their lives are a bit too hectic to fully get into the planning. Natalia (Anna Rose Hopkins) is an aspiring actress that becomes creatively inspired by the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and as a result delivers a hilarious monologue that closes the first act. Jenny Soo (as Clara) doesn’t have too many lines during most of the play. We see her, as a new mom, coming and going between pumpings and diaper changings, barely managing to e-mail her friends back. But her shining moment comes at the end of the second act, when she describes the miracle of childbirth, from the point of view of a young mother who happened to take the painkillers at the first chance possible.

It’s impossible to see this play and not think of your own circle of friends. It happens to us all – we start at one same place and, as we embrace adulthood, our priorities change and our paths diverge. Some of us have kids, some of us don’t, and some of us find silly what others fully love. The point of the play is precisely that, like life, friendship is a work in progress that evolves, transforms, and that is (at least most of the time) worth keeping alive. 

UNTITLED BABY PLAY was set to go at the end of 2019 and was stopped in its tracks by the pandemic. It’s finally having its world premiere, which will continue at the Atwater Village Theatre through June 27, 2022. The play performs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays at 8 p.m., and on Sundays at 3 p.m. All tickets are $35.

Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90039. Free parking is available in the ATX (Atwater Crossing) lot one block south of the theater. For reservations and information, call 323-380-8843 or go to www.iamatheatre.com.

P.S.: There are some men in the creative team, but overall this is a play written, directed, performed, and run mostly by women, which is another plus, if I say so myself.

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