By Peter Frost
Exploring the increasingly complicated world of unpaid internships, evolving relationships and awkward Skype sex, Post Grad by Beth Hyland 13 is musical comedy about the limbo between college and adulthood. The show was staged in a crowded Bolton Dance Studio, a space that served well as the setting for such an engaging production. Juggling genres and a cast of 18 individuals, Post Grad mixed drama, comedy and music to consistently hilarious, and sometimes insightful, effect.
The heroine of Post Grad is Haley, played with endearing pluck by Maureen Hoff 15. Fresh out of Kenyon and living in New York City, Haley begins her post-graduate career interning at feminist pop-culture website LadyLife.com, where she writes gossip stories about American Idol and Kevin Spaceys sexuality while dreaming of writing the next great American novel.
At the start of the show, Haleys a bit of a mess: smart and hardworking, but torn between staying in the city and continuing to blog and joining Teach for America and moving to the decidedly less urbane Rochester. And, as her friends and fellow interns Cassie (Sarah White 16) and Meredith (Anna Yukevich 16) begin the transition to full-fledged adulthood, Haley is ultimately forced to choose, as the opening number, Where Do I Go, suggests, where she wants to end up in life and whom she wants to become.
Mixing multiple genres and thematic elements, Post Grad avoids an identity crisis akin to the one its heroine experiences; the show is self-assured in its aims and ideas.
The play is at its most incisive and entertaining when examining the dynamics of friendship and the working world post-graduation.
Peppered with topical allusions and a plethora of f-bombs, the healthy dose of youthful irreverence serves Post Grad well, giving the production a breezy feel with a bit of acerbic bite.
Somehow, production managed to nail drama as successfully as it did humor. A long-distance relationship between Haley and Nate (James Plunkett 13) was staged for equal parts romance and laughs, reaching a comedic high during a sexually-charged Skype session that goes awry.
It wasnt all laughs, though. Currents of isolation and anxiety run through Post Grad. A touching musical number called Long Way Away centered around the struggling interns, as they tried to convince their parents that theyre doing okay. By blending sweetness with a dose of sour reality, the show remained genuine. It was lighthearted, but not inconsequential.
The production team harnessed the abundant energy of the performers and channeled it into creating an entertaining and enriching experience. Thanks to nimble direction by Emma Miller 15, who managed the shows many moving pieces, the performance looked effortless. The musical direction of Rioghnach Robinson 16 was another high point of Post Grad, with each of the songs standing on its own while remaining a cohesive part of the entire production.
For the debut production of StageFemmes, the recently revived student organization that focuses on productions written by and centered on women, Post Grad was a success on all fronts, a show in which many moving pieces were brought together to an enormously entertaining effect. Moving between incisive commentary and light comedy, the production ultimately managed to hit, sometimes painfully and always hilariously, close to home.