The show starts out very funny and happy. Jim (Evan Linder) and Laurel Parker (Liz Sharpe) are deeply in love and are very excited for the arrival of their first child. Laurel’s mother arrived on the expected due date, two weeks ago. Tensions are rising as the baby has not yet arrived and hilarious bickering fills the air. Finally, the baby is born and everything changes.
The baby is black and Jim is clearly not the father. Jim returns home in a state of confusion. His confusion turns to rage as he accuses his best friend, Carl, of being the father. After an intense fight, Carl pins Jim and sternly states “I would NEVER.” This very intense scene sets the mood for the drama to come.
After Jim avoids Laurel for a while by staying at Carl’s place, they finally talk. She reminds him that he cheated on her in New Orleans. She forgave him and now she wants his forgiveness. She says it’s the same mistake, only hers has a bigger unintended consequence. It is gut-wrenching watching her emotional performance begging Jim to stay. “You were always my plan, and you still are my plan!” Jim is clearly torn about what to do as his eyes tear up. This decision is life changing and the actors do an incredible job of portraying this struggle.
Can Jim forgive her? Can they continue to live in this city? Find out now at The Den Theatre through 2/21 in the newly extended Byhalia, Mississippi.
Update: Now playing at Steppenwolf Theatre!