I am not a play reviewer (critic? see... I don't even know what they're called!), I am not a fellow artisan of the stage (not a director, playwright, or even actor although my riveting portrayal of Mrs. Peterson in the Orange High School drama production of Bye Bye Birdie is still making waves in my hometown), I am just a (newly divorced) girl with a broken heart (unrelated to the divorce) looking for something to do on a Friday night (when her son is at his father's for the weekend)... and what happens? I find this while I'm poking around on goldstar trying to make life meaningful. I buy a ticket, happen to recruit TheAngryWombat, and the plan is in motion.
I spent most of intermission brainstorming how I was going to tell the world about this brilliant play and by the time I got home I realized I had much more to say than a mere status update would allow. And with that... I am writing my first play review and probably talking about myself as much as I normally do in any of these posts.
"The Girl Most Likely To" opens with vintage, Filipino drag queen Mama Cid explaining the ancient tradition of cross dressing as a means to cross into different spiritual worlds--I am instantly sold of course. If you haven't noticed: some of my most recent discoveries about myself have triggered an obsession with anything gender queer. The story unfolds to describe the journey of a teenage boy who longs to be a girl and...
You know what, I don't really want to write a review. Somehow it seems like a review should include a synopsis and I don't want to tell you what I saw, I want to tell what I felt. If you want more details about what the play is "about" and/or want a professional's opinion check out any of these reviews:
Steven Stanley at StageSceneLA
Travis Michael Holder at Backstage
Dale Reynolds at Latin Heat
where are all the female theater critics? (that's what they're called, by the way... "theater critics." and I am still not one)
oh, here's one Amy Tofte at LA Stage Times. Thank you for coming through for me, Amy.
The story in "The Girl Most Likely To" is pretty specific. It is inspired by the life and unfortunate death of a transgender teenager... and while it's true that the queer storyline is what made it stand out from the crowd of other random theater offerings this (and every) weekend on goldstar, I am not--nor have I ever been--a transgender teenager. What I am left with, however, is that this play was about the human experience. In the two hour (plus a smidge more) story I experienced every emotion on the spectrum.
I was thrilled and delighted by the drag queen lip synching and whole cast choreographed dance numbers, I laughed out loud at the patronizing "Twilight" jokes, I whimpered at the unintentionally harsh words of the fearful mother, I sobbed and screamed and cried at what I can only describe as a brilliant use of space, time, light, emotion... wow.
The play wasn't about a transgender teen. The play was about human beings. Thanks to the phenomenal writing, directing, and acting I fell in love with every lovable character and hated each hateable one in the purest way possible. From start to finish I was completely immersed in the lives of the characters, their stories, and my story as I reflected on the fact that everything they experienced was so human... even, and especially the ugly bits, and I was experiencing it right along with them. Even better, I was ripped from my story. I am so far from outside my head now... I am back in the collective mind... the human experience. Deeply connected to each and every one of you.
Something else happened in the therapist's office this morning that I forgot to tell you about. She encouraged me to look for a way to give my time and energy in service. She explained that the emotional blocks I was enduring were all ego based. Concern about being left or forgotten or dismissed or made suddenly unimportant are all concerns of the ego and the BEST way to get past the ego and back into your true self is to give of yourself. I knew I would be compliant instantly (I am a good girl), but I didn't have any immediately inspired ideas. Sure, I could serve food at the Rescue Mission, but so could anyone else... there had to be something that I could do because of what I have to offer.
I know where I'm headed now. It's the most self loving place I can think of to start... A place where giving of myself is the exact same kind of love that I need to give to myself. Thank you to the creators, performers, and hosts of "The Girl Most Likely To" for getting me there.
Everyone else... go see this play, and then tell everyone you know to go see it. It needs to be seen.