Sept. 21 2011 12:00 AM

Parents plot to sell their kids in caustic comedy 'Gingerbread House'


Brian and Stacy, the couple at the center of “The
Gingerbread House,” won’t be winning any Parent of the Year awards
anytime soon. 

Their parenting motto — which certainly isn’t going to
endear them to their offspring — is based less on unconditional love
and more on a  “when the going gets tough, get rid of the kids” mentality. So getting rid of the kids is just what they do.

This is the situation presented in the Lansing Community College production, which bows Friday.

Director Chad Badgero said Mark Schultz’s darkly comic
take on the pitfalls and responsibilities of parenting is going to have
people talking.

“I like that I really think it’s going to rattle people,”
said Badgero. “There’s an element that anyone’s whose had kids can
identify with — they’ll be saying ‘I’ve felt that. It’s, ugly, but I’ve
felt that’.”

Brian (Brian de Vries) and Stacey (Marianne Chan) have
discovered that raising their two children has not been quite as
satisfying as they had hoped it would be and it’s gotten in the way of
their own ambitions. So they devise a unique solution: They arrange to
sell their kids to mysterious Albanian buyers in order to toss off the
constraints of parenting and further their careers.

“We can start our lives again,” Brian promises Stacey. “We can have it back. All of it.”

With help from Brian’s friend, Marco, a scheme is set into action.

“This really focuses on all the things you inevitably
give up or lose when you become a parent: sleep, free time, flexibility
in your schedule, a young, fit body,” said Badgero who is moonlighting
from his day jobs as communication director of the Greater Lansing Arts
Council and artistic director of  the Peppermint Creek Theatre Co.

The cast includes Molly Epstein, Scott Crandall, Jacqui Marpa, Philip Franke and Edward O’Ryan.

“The show has a very acerbic wit to it. It is a comedy, but it’s also so ghastly,” Badgero said.

As opening night approaches, the director is wondering
what audiences — parents and non-parents alike — are going to get out
of the twisted tale.

“All I can hope for and all I ever hope for is that the
audience will talk about what they’ve seen,” he said. “There’s a lot of
truth in the show.  I think people will be stunned by it, but find it gripping.”

‘The Gingerbread House’

Lansing Community College

8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23; Saturday, Sept. 24; Sept. 30 and Oct. 1

LCC Black Box Theatre, Room 168, Gannon Building

$10 adults; $5 students, LCC faculty, staff, alumni

(517) 483-1012