Play Set in Hospital Conjures Trip to Europe

Pulse Reporter
Oregon Daily Emerald
University of Oregon, Eugene

“The Baltimore Waltz,” a poignant and humorous story of a brother and sister’s wild trip through Europe, opened Wednesday in the university’s Arena Theater.

The play by Paula Vogel takes place in a waiting room where sister Anna (Hayley Zeal) remembers the trip she and her deceased brother Carl (Nathan Wonder) took through Europe. As Anna and Carl travel through Europe they encounter various strange and interesting characters including the Little Dutch Boy at age 50, the Munich Virgin and the evil genius Dr. Todesrocheln, all played by Jermaine Golden as the Third Man.

“The Baltimore Waltz” is Vogel’s response to her own brother’s death from AIDS in 1988. Vogel and her brother had planned on going on a trip to Europe but never got the chance to go before he died. Vogel drafted the play while in the waiting room at the hospital where her brother was dying.

The play depicts Europe through American eyes. There are many references to classic Hollywood movies that have taken place in Europe. The many stereotypical representations allude to whether the trip even occurred in the first place.

The University production uses a minimal set and substitutes costumes for actors, which remain on stage for the duration of the play, to transform a hospital waiting room into an adventure through Europe in Anna’s imagination.

“I really like Vogel’s idea of finding joy and laughter even in the midst of great loss or grief,” said James Engberg, a University graduate student and “The Baltimore Waltz” director. “I think that even in the hardest of times we can find ways to celebrate.”