Section: Arts

Boy gets girl and StageFemmes gets potential new hit

Boy gets girl and StageFemmes gets potential new hit

By Victoria Ungvarsky | Photo Editor

Everyone knows the “awkward first date” trope: two mismatched characters meet for an uncomfortable dinner of forced pleasantries and uneasy social engagement. All the while, the audience cringes and laughs as the awkward scene unfolds. But in Boy Gets Girl, the newest show in the StageFemmes season, the first date trope takes a new direction, and the erstwhile source of jokes adopts an original role in an exciting new play that analyzes relationship dynamics, gender and sexism in the 21st century.

Set in New York in 2000, Boy Gets Girl focuses on the life of Theresa, a writer in her thirties, played by Phoebe Lewis ’16. She has the misfortune of going on a bad few dates with Tony (Mike Jest ’15). Afterwards, the play then follows Theresa’s life after she first meets Tony while exploring the ways women are viewed in society.

“It is a thriller. I don’t know anything of this tone that’s gone up lately,” Director Allie Lembo ’14 said.

This season, StageFemmes is highlighting the work of noted female playwright Rebecca Gilman, who will be visiting campus later in the semester for the Kenyon College Dramatic Club’s Tommy Awards. Her work is noted for its focus on female characters and the complex circumstances in their lives. Gilman’s Boy Gets Girl was, in many ways, the perfect play for StageFemmes to tackle: a different piece that would confront major issues.

The rehearsal process for Boy Gets Girl has been short, but intense. The small cast of seven includes Lewis and Jest, along with Robbie Sellers ’14, Ben Fisher ’17, Ella Jones ’17, Asha McAllister ’15 and Jenny Ruymann ’15.

“It’s a seven-character play, but the most on stage at any time might be four,” Lembo said. “So it’s been fun finding dynamics between two or three people.” In addition, the small cast has given the actors the opportunity to really focus in on their characters and their dynamics, which is so critical to the plot of the show.

One of the most unusual but potent dynamics in Boy Gets Girl is its setting. The show takes place in 2000, and though that was just 14 years ago, obtaining props and costumes for the show proved to be a challenge; the cast even discussed moving the show to the present day, but ultimately decided against it. This decision stemmed from the role of technology, and how integral it has become in our lives today, much more so than in 2000.

“If it was in the present,” Lembo said, “the huge elephant in the play is, ‘Well why haven’t they checked on Facebook yet? Why haven’t they looked online?’ That would be a huge element in the play missing.” In choosing to keep the show in its original era, Boy Gets Girl shows us how far we have come — and how far we have still to go.

As tech week draws to a close, the small cast and crew are eager to finally have an audience for this dark and gripping drama. The Black Box Theater will be alive with this exciting new show which premieres Feb. 21 at 7 p.m.

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