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New dad anxiety in ‘Knickerbocker’ at the Public Theater NY

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 20-05-2011

Sounds like another in a long list of plays and movies that infantalize men as fathers and caregivers. The anxieties may be real, and the situations humorous, but it seems like we’ve seen and heard all this before. It makes you wonder if there’s any way to make the simple job of being a “good” mom or dad seem more noble than just a domestic cliché.

‘Knickerbocker’ at the Public Theater NY

Before the Baby Is Born, Dad Needs to Soothe His Own Inner Child

Impending parenthood whips up a familiar tempest of anxieties in the hero of “Knickerbocker,” a new play by Jonathan Marc Sherman that opened on Thursday night at the Public Theater. Doubts about his readiness to assume the role of responsible caregiver all but ooze from the pores of Jerry (Alexander Chaplin), a 40-year-old book editor whose garden-variety neuroses are inflamed by the knowledge that he will soon have to relinquish gazing at his own navel in favor of cooing over his little boy’s.

Jerry’s fear of fatherhood takes the odd form of a persistent need to sit around his favorite restaurant ordering Shirley Temples and pondering the awful magnitude of it all. The urge to coddle his inner child with grenadine and soda doesn’t inspire much confidence in Jerry’s parenting potential, but by the conclusion of Mr. Sherman’s episodic comedy, there are hints that Jerry is prepared for the life-changing events that are ahead of him.

[From ‘Knickerbocker’ at the Public Theater – Review – NYTimes.com]