"Baby" is the tale of a thoroughly modern threesome: pregnant Anna (Cherry Jones), her lover Ruth (Mary Mara) and their extremely good friend Peter (Peter Frechette), the father-to-be.

“Baby” is the tale of a thoroughly modern threesome: pregnant Anna (Cherry Jones), her lover Ruth (Mary Mara) and their extremely good friend Peter (Peter Frechette), the father-to-be.

While it is true that more gay and lesbian couples are having children, it’s unlikely that the third party is typically so much a part of the bargain, as is the case here.

As it happens, Peter is not the real complicating factor in this household. Ruth and Anna enjoy a rich fantasy life in which they become three children who play, argue, provoke Peter and otherwise monkey around.

This drives Peter nuts, and it didn’t do much for this reviewer, either, though it’s clear that these kids — their evocative names are Cecil Bartholomew , Henri Dumont and Orphan McDermott — mean a great deal to Anna and Ruth.

The play turns on the women’s decision to dispatch Cecil, Henri and Orphan before the real baby arrives; they seem to believe that preparation for parenthood must include putting out the child within us, and of course the opposite is the case, as Vogel’s coda makes clear.

That’s where the punch is — a small one to be sure, in a small play that has some resonance.

The play is set in Derek McLane’s lovely vision of a New York loft (made lovelier by Peter Kaczorowski’s lighting, which almost always casts a dusky glow). Under Calvin Skaggs’ direction, the three fine actors honor the script by taking it seriously and giving it their considerable all.

And Baby Makes Seven

(Lucille Lortel Theater, New York; 299 seats; $ 35 top)

Production

A Circle Repertory Co. presentation, by special arrangement with Lucille Lortel, of a play in two acts by Paula Vogel; director, Calvin Skaggs.

Creative

Set, Derek McLane; costumes, Walker Hicklin; lighting, Peter Kaczorowski; sound, Donna Riley; incidental music, Evan Morris; artistic director, Tanya Berezin; managing director, Abigail Evans. Opened, reviewed May 6, 1993.

Cast

Peter ... Peter Frechette Ruth ... Mary Mara Anna ... Cherry Jones Spinning contemporary tales about people whose reality constantly shifts between the mundane and the imagined, Paula Vogel demands a lot of an audience. She doesn't always tie things up neatly, and when she does, it's usually not until the end. In some cases, the payoff is big, as in her memorable "The Baltimore Waltz" last year. With "And Baby Makes Seven," she demonstrates that even her lesser work has a theatrical, emotional punch.

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