Reviews

“Girls Like That” is a striking call to arms

Girls Like That - production image1 - credit Tim Matheson.jpg

Girls Like That by Evan Placey follows the life of Scarlett as she struggles through the fallout of having a nude photo leaked to everyone in her school. Placey’s renowned insight into adolescence and alienation shine through to tell a harrowing tale of internalized misogyny and the bystander effect.

With director Renée Iaci, a co-founder of Shameless Hussy Productions whose mission is to tell provocative stories about women; the Girls in Leadership Club, which gives the girls of Templeton Secondary a space to discuss their struggles; and the teenagers of the award-winning Theatre Temp, this production exemplifies what happens when the right people come together to put on a play. This is a story that needs to be told, and these are the people that need to tell it.

Girls Like That - production image10 - credit Tim Matheson.jpgGroup narration, monologue, and dances to pop music make up the play. The rhythmic precision of the group narration captivates the audience, taking firm control over the rise and fall of tension. The dance interludes are thoughtfully choreographed to give vivid glimpses into Scarlett’s mind, compensating for her scarce dialogue. Alison Moreau struts her acting range as she shifts cleanly from character to character in her monologues.

The actors playing Scarlett’s peers harmonize skillfully to give each character individuality while always maintaining their position in a collective antagonist. The image is clear: it’s Scarlett versus the whole school.

As is to be expected from the program, Theatre Temp totes a strong cast, with each performer excelling above the expected calibre of high school theatre. Since most of the performance is group narration, the strength of the actors shows itself in their collaboration. They smoothly pass the audience’s attention to one another, forming and changing rhythm with an ease that often gave me the impression I was witnessing a hivemind, an effect that deeply resonates with the play’s theme of conformity.

Perhaps the most striking part of this production is its cohesion. Whether it’s a character or the scene, transitions are frequent throughout Girls Like That but the set and costumes almost never change. Lighting and direction marry to make each transition seamless without ever sacrificing clarity. The themes Evan Placey wove into the play show themselves in all aspects of the performance, demonstrating the production to be far greater than the sum of its parts.

One might consider Girls Like That to be a cautionary tale of what happens when girls turn against each other. But it goes deeper than that. Girls Like That is a rallying call for the young girls of today to rebuild the female solidarity that empowered their foremothers. By the end of the night, these teens will have you ready to link arms and take to the streets for girls like Scarlett.

Girls Like That runs November 3 and November 7-10 at Templeton Secondary School. Ticket information can be found here.

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