Sunday, October 19, 2003

Boy Gets Girl (Beck Center)

'BOY GETS GIRL' captures audience at Beck

In spite of the title, don’t go to see Beck Center’s production of ‘BOY GETS GIRL’ expecting to see a TV-sitcom-like escapist piece of fluff. The play definitely is not fluff. It is a revealing, upsetting, involving investigation of how a woman’s life is quickly destroyed by a disturbed admirer. It is a suspenseful tale about the unraveling of a strong woman’s sense of security.

At the start of the play, we meet Theresa Bedell, a successful thirty-something magazine writer as she encounters Tony, with whom she has been fixed-up on a blind date. It appears that we are in for a boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girl disses boy, boy pursues girl, and that’s it. But, since the boy is a psycho and can’t take “no” for an answer, we watch in horror as boy stalks girl, threatens girl, and finally causes her to give up all she has, including her name, to hopefully get rid of him. This is definitely a case of bad winning out over good.

Time Magazine called Rebecca Gilman’s ‘BOY GETS GIRL’…gripping and important—the finest, most disturbing American play in years!" The review was right on.

Beck’s production is absorbing. Director Sarah May has honed in on the intent and purpose of the play and has given her cast a clear course, though there was some audience confusion at the end of the play when they were unaware that the experience was over until the cast came out for the curtain call. Except for that, everything works...Don McBride’s set, Casey Jones’ sound design, Jeff Lockshine’s lighting, and Jenniver Sparano’s costumes, all enhance the performances.

Elizabeth Ann Townsend, known locally and nationally for her acting excellence, doesn’t play Theresa, she IS Theresa. She textures the role with physical and vocal scoring that makes us suffer with her.

How the audience didn’t boo loudly when Paul Kaiser, who plays Tony, came out for his curtain call, I’ll never know. Kaiser was so despicable that it was impossible to not believe that he was the “sicky” that he was portraying. Boo, Tony! Hurray Paul!

Robert Hawkes as Theresa’s boss, James Savage, Jr. as a young reporter, Besty Kahl as the ditzy secretary, Rose A. Leininger, as the policewoman assigned to Theresa’s case, and Donald Krosin, as a sleazy X-rated film producer, are excellent.

As you walk into the lobby of Beck Center for the Arts on the way to see ‘BOY GETS GIRL,’ you will be confronted by a series of t-shirts. These clothing items are not for sale. They are part of The Clothesline Project, a visual display of T-shirt that bear witness to violence against women--stalking, rape, incest, battery, withheld love. These are memorials and memories of clients and their families as accumulated by the Lorain County Rape Crisis Center.

READ EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THE INSCRIBED PIECES BEFORE GOING IN TO SEE ‘BOY MEETS GIRL.’ It will make an intensely important play even more vivid.

CAPSULE JUDGEMENT: Sarah May has crafted an involving production of Rebecca Gilman’s emotional revealing play. If you have space on your calendar fill in ‘BOY MEETS GIRL’ in the spot. You won’t be disappointed.