“We have hung Baby. We have dragged Baby through a park.”
Baby’s not human. Or even sentient. Relax.
“Baby is a creepy little doll that I actually got randomly at a production of something – I don’t even remember what – at the Fishtank,” says a laughing Kevin King, the Kansas City playwright and producer behind Whim Productions.
He extrapolates on Baby’s origin’s further: “It was Heidi Van’s skit. As a part of that, she threw out a lot of baby dolls into the audience. And one of them went to me. At the end I asked her, ‘Can I keep this?’ She’s like, ‘Oh yeah, these are really creepy.’”
Baby is a tidy microcosm of the Whim Productions aesthetic — edgy, giddily creepy camp. Or “endearingly creepy,” as director Steven Eubank describes the doll.
Eubank sat next to King at midnight on a Thursday, the best time that these two busy artists-about-town could meet to chat. “It’s not an awwww kinda baby. There is nothing precious about this doll. It’s endearingly creepy.”
Baby has appeared in each of Whim Productions original plays so far — a deeply weird riff on the Alfred Hitchcock cameo that gets funnier the more you think about the parallel. And Baby will be making another appearance in Whim’s latest show, Flowers in the Wardrobe.
Written by King and directed by Eubank, Flowers is an original show that maniacally splices the young adult novels Flowers in the Attic and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Its world premiere will be May 10. So on the day that mothers across Kansas City are getting cards and brunches, Kansas City will be getting its own Mother’s Day present — a new source of gratifyingly smart, wickedly campy original theater.
Although Flowers marks the beginning of Whim’s first season, it’s not the beginning of Whim.
“This goes back to 2010, when I went to see at least a couple Fringe shows with Steven [Eubank>,” King explains. “The Fringe Festival is filled with people who have written their own shows and are self-producing them. And I have no idea what show it was after, but at one point I remember saying to Steven, in front of my house, ‘You know, I can do that.’ He was basically like, ‘Yeah, why don’t you?’ … That’s where Whim Productions came from. And like a lot of whims, I think it’s turned out fairly well.”
Many others agree. Whim’s first two productions – Film Classics Presents: Heaven So Far and Film Classics Presents: Suspicion – were parodies of old-school film genres. Heaven So Far was the 7th best-attended show at the 2011 Kansas City Fringe Festival, as well as the best-attended for its venue. It performed well enough to grab the attention of one of Kansas City’s reigning theater critics, The Star'