A Miracle in Fullerton

Johnna Adams' The Miracle of Mary Mack's Baby lets us in on the fascinating lives of people who are abducted by aliens or who give birth to alien babies—true stories even the tabloids don't have the courage to report. Adams' realistic, witty dialogue brings us much closer to these people than most of us would probably like, and it is such unexpected access that makes it easier to accept the play's absurdity.

Six months after the disappearance of her own baby boy, Mary Mack (Cynthia Ryanen) discovers a lizard-like creature with fangs and wings in the wreckage of a flying saucer that crash-lands in her yard. Naturally, she interprets this miraculous alien delivery as her baby reincarnated as an angel and returned to her by God. Despite her enthusiasm for her new role as a woman singled out among women, Mary's neighbors in the “good Christian” small Texas town where she lives stubbornly insist that the green baby is not a gift from God but rather a dangerous alien that must be killed. Delightfully complicating this main theme of divine intervention or alien invasion are several intriguing subplots, all of which coalesce into bizarre, yucky humor that every God-fearing and paranormal American can relate to and every God-mocking and secular American can laugh at.

There are also plenty of white-trash aspirations at work, such as the testing of the through-thick-and-thin relationship between Mary and her lifelong friend Gildy (Patti Cumby). Mary's husband, Kenneth (Bradley Whitfield), wants to kill Mary and her father so he can collect her inheritance and consummate his powerful attraction to Gildy. Kenneth's sidekick, Little Hank (Robert Dean Nuez), will do anything for the love of Gildy's murdering taxidermist daughter, Geraldanne (Kara Knappe). And there is “Tricky” Mickey Devlin (Frank Tryon), a journalist for the Tabloid Channel, who desperately seeks the story that will catapult him to stardom.

Amanda DeMaio's skillful direction, the excellent performances of her cast, and the hokey special effects all work to make this cleverly eccentric play the perfect precursor to a night of hard partying —or green-skinned alien abduction.

The Miracle of Mary Mack's Baby at Stages Theater, 400 E. Commonwealth, Fullerton, (714) 525-4484. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m. Through April 16. $12.

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