“Girls Like That” cast members find self-truth in their work
April 5, 2017
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Auditions, preparations and designing for college theater’s second spring show – “Girls Like That” – have left an unexpectedly lasting impact on its actors as they head to the April 7 opening.
The show is comprised of 14 students, each of whom is female. Written by Evan Placey, the show follows a group of girls from their childhood at an all-girls Catholic school, all the way to maturity. Once in public high school, a naked photo is circled around of Scarlett. The gossip grows. Rumors flood Scarlett’s life, but she chooses to remain silent for the majority of the incident. This causes more lies and questions to grow. “Girls Like That” represents a huge contemporary issue for young adults, explores various pressures being put upon teens and the role technology is now playing in life.
The show is unlike a typical play. There are no characters. There is no exact set. Instead, the script is comprised of lines, per usual, but each one has no label. Due to this, director Connie Canaday Howard was required to go through the show and assign lines, giving actors a blank slate.
“It’s different than any show I’ve been in because when we got script there wasn’t anything assigned,” said student, Koshie Mills. “We had to come up with our own character, which was a great freedom for me as an actor.”
The process for creating “Girls Like That” was a product of workshops with young people in London. The show was originally produced in 2013. The lines and incidences are oftentimes real dialogue that was found during this work.
Due to the relevant and personal subject matter, actors have found themselves taking the show home with them after rehearsals, sometimes even finding themselves affected by their portrayal during rehearsals.
“Since the show tells the story of a major issue in society, it hit me hard in reflecting on personal things from my past,” said student Riley Skalski. “In a way, the show helped me work through old problems, move past them, and be a happier person.”
Skalski finds the show to be a mirror-image of her own, being a previous student of an all-girls school and making the transition into public school. She sees the bullying of Scarlett to remind her of more bitter memories.
“Sometimes there are stories that are hard to tell, and you don’t want to do it,” continued Skalski. “But as an actor that’s your job – To tell the story, even if it’s hard, because it’s necessary.”
For some, it appeared to bring back painful times. For others, it was a needed time for reflection on themselves today.
“This show really hits home for many people,” said student Clare Collins. “Whether they were bullied in the past, or the bully. I realized after portraying these nasty girls that I’ve actually found myself acting in a similar way. This show honestly showed me how cruel and terrible girls can be. It’s made me more open to the individuality and differences of people.”
“Girls Like That” opens with a preview and post-show discussion on Thursday, April 6 in the Playhouse Theatre. The show opens at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 7 and runs until Sunday, April 16. Tickets are $12 for students and $14 for the public.
“I think now more than ever folks need to stand up for each other and build each other up rather than tear each other apart,” said Collins. “’Girls Like That’ really preaches this idea.”