Thursday, November 3, 2011

Heidi Van’s baby bump has a starring role in Fishtank production -

  Heidi Van in 'Bump'
Heidi Van in 'Bump'

Brindsay’s back and she’s not alone.
At the Fishtank Performance Studio this week, adventurous theatergoers can encounter a show that sounds a lot like life imitating art.
Or maybe art imitating life imitating art.
Either way, the dividing line between reality and artifice should be rather fluid in “Bump,” a new piece written and performed by Heidi Van, David Wayne Reed and Bess Wallerstein.
“Bump” is a sequel to last year’s “White Nose Christmas: A Tabloid Nativity of Rehab & Rebirth,” which introduced us to Brindsay Kardilton, coke-snorting celebrity famous for being famous. In that show, which was a little like a mutant version of “A Christmas Carol,” Brindsay ends up in the slammer and receives nocturnal visits from an assortment of characters, including Marilyn Monroe and Mr. Cocaine. Van played Brindsay, and Reed and Wallerstein each performed multiple supporting roles.
Now Brindsay’s out of jail but somehow she has become pregnant while behind bars. The script, Van explained recently, coyly avoids explaining just how this came to be.
“She has a revelation, as she always does,” Van said. “She faces the reality of what it’s like to actually have a baby. Will it be part of a cycle of celebrity babies? Or will she try to raise her baby as a normal human being?”
These are relevant questions to Van, because she and her husband, Daniel Quin Shay (who designed sound for the show), are expecting a child of their own. Due date: Dec. 10. So it was important to get the show going before the blessed event.
“I don’t have a big time frame to do it because I’m eight months pregnant,” she said.
Van, Wallerstein and Reed basically directed themselves, Van said, although Ashley Otis is choreographing the show. The set was designed and built by Matt Weiss.
“There’s four musical numbers and they are whoppers,” Van said.
The show, like the first one, comments on an age in which notoriety of any kind allows a person to become a celebrity, and celebrities use actual events in their lives — like having babies — to further enhance their public image.
“It is completely woven out of pop culture,” she said. “I think that’s what makes the play relevant.”
Van and Shay already know their baby is a girl. And they’ve named her Maryanne and she’s already a trouper. Shortly after she became pregnant, Van went on tour with the performance-art band Boom! Toward the middle of her pregnancy she was involved in the Fringe Festival. And now she’s doing Brindsay Kardilton again. That’s a lot of stage experience for someone who hasn’t taken her first breath.
“Now she’s a star,” Van said.
“Bump” opens Friday and continues through Nov. 14 at the Fishtank Performance Studio, 1715 Wyandotte St. Tickets cost $15. Go to or

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