Babel at Florida Studio Theatre

Arts & Culture

Pictured Left to Right: Tom Patterson, Lucy Lavely, Rachel Moulton and Anique Clements. Photo by John Jones.

This weekend, head on down to Florida Studio Theatre to catch a performance of Babel by Jacqueline Goldfinger. The production, which made its debut in FST’s Bowne's Lab Theatre on January 18th, is a part of FST’s Stage III Series which focuses on telling more challenging and contemporary stories. Babel is a part of a Rolling World Premiere with National New Play Network and won the organizations Smith Prize for Political Theatre was set to make its debut at FST in 2020, but production was delayed due to the pandemic. Finally, after three long years, Goldfinger’s play is set to take the stage.

Babel takes place in a not so distant future where expectant parents can test for – and consequently tweak – the future behavioral traits of their unborn child. The play follows two expectant couples with similar test results and the decisions that they are faced with, exploring the world of modern eugenics and the lengths that parents will travel for their children.

“Babel lives in a future where we have been able to figure out how to shift behaviors and traits in utero so that hopefully you wouldn't have serial killers. The question is then what are the ripple effects?” says playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger. “As exciting as it might be, what are the negative aspects of it? Would trying to limit the behavioral spectrum from the time in utero, would there be great art? Would there be great music? What are those things on the behavioral spectrum that might be considered outside the norm but not dangerous – what are the things that we’d lose in terms of our humanity and ability to self curate?

The inspiration for Babel stemmed from a hospital visit Goldfinger had during her own pregnancy. “I have a son who’s now perfectly healthy, but when I was pregnant with him there were some complications and we had to do some tests. I did not realize how far reproductive technologies had advanced, how many things doctors can test for, and how much you can know now in advance,” says Goldfinger. “They’re working on and have ways where you can state your preferences for hair and eye color and gender through IVF treatment. The next step in these tests will be altering the behavioral elements of these traits.”

Florida Studio Theatre, Box Office: 941-366-9000, 1241 North Palm Avenue, Sarasota.

Pictured Left to Right: Tom Patterson, Lucy Lavely, Rachel Moulton and Anique Clements. Photo by John Jones.

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