nytheatre.com review by Kim Kefgen
August 15, 2004
girl is described as “a trilogy of poetic monologues based upon the Greek myths of Persephone, Icarus, and Leda. Three young women struggle with sex, drugs and self destruction... ” Entering the theatre, I worried that "poetic" would mean "inaccessible," “based upon Greek myths” would mean "pretentious," and “sex, drugs and self destruction” would translate as “after school special.” I’m happy to say my worry was for nothing. girl is an engaging, funny, and honest portrayal of three young women facing life changing events.
Megan Mostyn-Brown’s dialogue captures the rhythms of her characters’ adolescent, self-conscious speech. Very occasionally it feels forced and affected, and the middle monologue utilizes some overlapping dialogue that was a bit confusing and ineffective, but throughout most of the play, I really enjoyed the writing. The monologues are performed with certainty by three very fine actors (Jennifer Lauren Grant, Alexis Croucher, and Diane Landers) who could not possibly be as young as they seemed. I was thrilled to see such consistently strong work from these three women.
A challenge of the “sex, drugs and self destruction” theme is not only the artist’s temptation to overdramatize but also a New York audience’s tendency to disparage. Immersed in everything from indulgent one-woman shows on stage to Lifetime movies and reality shows on TV, we roll our eyes and groan when we hear about yet another play about incest, eating disorders, addiction, etc. The characters in girl share our cynicism. They acknowledge that they are living a movie of the week. They fight hard to find a response to their pain that isn’t cliched. They are honest.
So if you're thinking of writing off girl for fear it will be just another victim play, please reconsider. It’s funny and touching and showcases some very fine writing and acting talent. (If you are excited to see a modern day retelling of Persephone, Icarus, or Leda, skip it— I’m no Greek scholar, but I think the connections are tenuous at best, and possibly non-existent.) But if you’re into good, simple character portraits, girl is a great choice, and for me, a pleasant surprise.