Cost: $20 standard, $18 senior, $10 student
An intensely personal journey celebrating love in a moment of great despair…
With Baltimore Waltz, playwright Paula Vogel pens a love note to her brother who recently passed away from AIDS-related complications. Anna and her brother embark upon a fantastical trip to Europe in order to flee the diagnosis of Acquired Toilet Disease, a fatal disease contracted by the sister from a school bathroom. Will they find an escape before reality sets in?
“…a crazy-quilt patchwork of hyperventilating language, erotic jokes, movie kitsch and medical nightmare…that spins before the audience in Viennese waltz time, replete with a dizzying fall.” —NY Times
“…an immensely likable winning comedy-drama…” —Hollywood Reporter
We are in the process of making improvements to our Black Box theater. If you attended The Foreigner this summer, you will have noticed that we got new seats as part of the renovations. However, those seats require us to build new risers in order to meet the fire codes, and the new risers will not be ready in time for Baltimore Waltz. Seating for this production will all be level with the stage.
We recognize that this is not optimal viewing for the play and apologize for any inconveniences.
Please contact the box office if you have any questions or concerns about your seats. Because of this last-minute change, we will be offering free exchanges for any tickets already purchased for Baltimore Waltz.
See the Theatre UCF Box Office page for ticket information.
Performances on 9/20/14, 10/18/14, 10/25/14, 11/14/14, and 11/22/14 coincide with a UCF home football game. You will need to allow extra time to get to the theater for this performance. Please note that the parking location during home games is different from our regular parking location. Theatre patrons should park in Lot B4. Golf cart shuttles will meet you at parking lot B-4 to take you to the theater. Patrons who park anywhere else on campus will receive a parking ticket.
Brilliantly capturing her characters’ emotional disorientation in the face of a mysterious terminal disease, Paula Vogel invites us to experience an exhilarating roller-coaster ride that takes us from desperation to hope, anger to affection, fear to sexual longing. In our staging of Baltimore Waltz, we embrace the play’s complex juxtapositions and contrasting imagery as we blend fantasy with realism, exasperation with delight, and farcical grotesque with emotional availability. The boundary between reality and imagination blurs and the characters step in and out of Anna’s fantasy world as she journeys toward acceptance of her brother’s imminent death.
We intended to honor the play’s both political directness and ambiguity: while highlighting the heartbreaking love story between the sister and brother, we were also keenly aware of the play’s satirical references, especially in relation to the politics around the AIDS crisis in the late 1980s. In the spirit of Bertolt Brecht’s polemics about theatre as an instrument of change, we invite our audience to share the characters’ emotional journey but also address the significance of personal responsibility as we face political catastrophes and battle devastating health crises, locally and globally.
—Julia Listengarten, Director
Sitting at the bedside of her beloved brother, Carl, as he lay dying of complications from AIDS in 1988, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel began crafting a fantasy-filled voyage in her head. Not long before Carl had been diagnosed with the infamous disease that wreaked havoc amongst thousands within and outside of the gay community, he’d invited his sister to accompany him on a trip to Europe. Paula turned down the invitation, lacking the financial resources to embark on such an extravagant excursion, and Carl made the trip on his own. Little did Vogel know that her time with her brother was limited, and that the trip that they never took together would eventually memorialize her brother in the form of a play, The Baltimore Waltz.
Placing herself in the shoes of her dying sibling, Vogel casts herself as Anna who is all at once a film noir heroine and an elementary school teacher who contracts a seemingly undiagnosable disease that isn’t being prioritized by those in the medical profession. As she follows her brother to Europe in search of a cure, Anna has sexual encounters with exotic men, envisions iconography from classic Hollywood films and popular culture, and is followed by mysterious strangers lurking in the shadows. Vogel takes her audiences on an imaginary odyssey through France, Holland, Germany, Austria, and finally back to Baltimore where the harshness of reality becomes inescapable.
Inspired structurally from the short story “The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” Vogel creates neither a linear, nor a cyclical journey for her protagonist, but a structure that actually forms a “noose” of sorts. We follow Anna and Carl to their idealized Europe, but are snapped back into the harsh reality of Johns Hopkins and her brother’s death by the play’s conclusion.
Through our production, we hope to further memorialize Carl Vogel and the millions who have experienced the anxiety of suffering from a disease to which there is no known cure, and to pay tribute to family members and friends who have experienced the loss of loved ones.
—Tara Kromer, Assistant Director, Dramaturg, and Sound Designer
* Student at UCF (all cast members are students)