Getting Near to Baby
from the Newbery Honor Book by Audrey Couloumbis
© 2006

photo ChildsPlay, AZ

"Y York's excellent stage adaptation already feels like a classic."
Kerry Lengel The Arizona Republic
full review here

People's Light
photo People's Light and Theatre

"I've seen thousands of adult plays without laughing or crying as much as I did during Getting Near to Baby...Labels be damned, great theater deserves an audience -- children, family and all." -- Mark Cofta Philadelphia City Paper

"Getting Near to Baby deals with the breadth of children's loss, grief and capacity to overcome tragedy with so much wisdom, humor and sensitivity that nothing but good conversation can come of any adult and child viewing it together, whether they've faced loss yet or not. For families like ours, who have experienced the death of an immediate family member, Getting Near to Baby is a reminder of the amazing resilience of children and the power of extended family to love and care when a parent needs time to heal.

On top of that, this play is simply one of the finest, simplest productions I've seen at SCT. York's script is intelligent, poignant, well-timed and moving." -- Cheryl Murfin

Seattle Children's Theatre photos by Chris Bennion

"Set in a small Southern town in 1967, the action of Getting Near to Baby swirls around the death of a small child and the effects of that tragedy on the baby's two older sisters, their mother and father, and the aunt and uncle who take in the two sisters in the wake of their mother's emotional collapse and father's abandonment.That may sound a bit heavy for a family play, but Getting Near to Baby is quite inspirational because the author and dramatist have faced grief honestly and drawn the characters sympathetically." -- Michael Caruso

people's light 2

"Getting Near to Baby...starkly illustrates the divide between childhod intentions and adult interpretations. York's dialogue uses a deceptively light, natural touch suited to the story and to its young principals. ...the right book-turned-play to help launch a searching child's own journey and make it just a little less lonely." -- Wendy Rosenfield Philadelphia Inquirer

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photos People's Light and Theatre

This play was commissioned & premiered by People's Light & Theatre Company in 2008. The play was developed through workshops at New York University's Provincetown Playhouse and Arizona State University West.

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photo People's Light and Theatre

2013 AATE Distingushed Adaptation Award

2 adult female, 1 adult male, 4 juvenile female, 1 juvenile male
multiple settings
full length

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Getting Near to Baby deals compassionately with a family’s loss

"Imagine that your baby sister has just died and you are immediately shipped off to an aunt who hasn’t the foggiest idea about how to console, show love to or please a child. That’s the fate of Willa Jo...and Little the poignant and heartwarming Getting Near to Baby...Rita Giomi’s gifted cast gives full measure to...Y York’s fine stage adaptation of Audrey Couloumbis’ Newbery Honor book. The girls’ snobby Aunt Patty seems not to have a clue. For her, rules and cleanliness are far more important than compassion. She disdains the polite neighbor children, Liz ...and Isaac...because, with 14 people living in their house, they must be trash. Yet despite Aunt Patty, these kids manage to befriend the sisters and introduce them to the wonders of their playhouse/cave. Aunt Patty would prefer the sisters to take charm lessons from the superficial, social-climbing Lucy Wainwright and her mean-spirited daughter Cynthia...Of course, there are lessons in this play. True values are those that involve respect for other people, and revere good character rather than airs or social status. And much to the delight of the young people in the audience, the play makes it clear that children sometimes do indeed know more than the adults in their lives — and they have their own way of working through life’s tragedies. Aunt Patty has a lot to learn about children and about values...Buried under that exterior there is someone who is capable of love, someone who also mourns the baby..."
-- Nancy Worssam The Seattle Times

"It would be a shame if parents shied away from Getting Near to Baby because of its challenging subject. The two-act Y York play, based on a novel by Audrey Couloumbis, follows a family dealing with the loss of an infant daughter. Yet it places its touching and sensitive exploration of grief within the context of a believably complicated family and community, and the outstanding production by Columbus Children’s Theatre skillfully balances the pain of the situation with equally genuine warmth and humor....York brings to dramatic life the complex conflicts among the characters. The director, William Goldsmith, gives the characters room to breathe, allowing them to develop fully and naturally, and finding human vulnerability in even the least likable of them. The troupe’s recommendation that the play is best-suited to children 8 and older seems appropriate, not so much because younger kids would be bothered by the themes as because they wouldn’t understand some of the implied history of the family and the dynamics of the relationships among the characters. Older kids, however, will recognize the universal problems of loss and change, and the role that family and friends play in healing. The work prompts questions worth asking." -- Margaret Quamme The Columbus Dispatch

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photo ChildsPlay, AZ

published by Dramatic Play Publishing

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