According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

She Like Girls

‘Tis the season for cheery performances but if you are looking for something different these holidays, She Like Girls is about as far from The Rockettes as you can get. Inspired by a true story, Chisa Hutchinson’s play about a teenage girl and her first… girlfriend is honest, emotional, and – quite simply – well written.

Reviewed by Amanda Cooper

The fact that the main character – Kia Clark – is killed at the end of the play is no secret. On the playbill is an abstract image of a young woman getting shot (plus all the publicity makes mention of the true story that inspired this production). The drama here is not from the element of surprise, but from the inevitable.

She Like Girls is told from the perspective of a teenage girl who finds that she has fallen for a classmate. Whether watching scenes from her inner-city high school or getting glimpses of her hormonally driven dreams, we are made to sympathize with her struggle. Ironically, throughout the play it is Kia who seems to have it easy – we watch others deal with sickness, abuse, and even hate crimes – but in the end it will be Kia who will be hit the hardest.

The performers all come across as age-appropriate, and admirably embody their roles. They’re not “polished” performers, but that roughness jibes with the production’s content and aesthetic—urban teenagers struggling with their sexual identities. Special mention must go to Karen Eilbacher as Kia, who has clearly brought her character’s inner struggle to the outside.

What stays with the audience, however, is Hutchinson’s writing. She may still be growing as a playwright- similar to the actors—but her modest writing stirs up emotions and doesn’t patronize. What, I wonder, will transpire from her inspirations in the future.

She Like Girls
Working Man's Clothes
Ohio Theatre (66 Wooster Street) ($25)
Through December 30
photo by Michael Mallard

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