The Take Away

  • Earnest, exuberant, and fun performances

  • Centering the narrative on budding female sexuality from the actual words of pre-teens

  • A nearly all white writing base, and all white performers made for tidy white feminism

 

In Our Pockets

 

 

Linor

I’m a white lady who kept a lot of diaries as a girl, I’m straight, so I thought a lot about boys as a kid, and I had a glass of rose in my hand. I think that oughta cover it.

 

Nan

I’m also a white/ish/passing lady who kept a ton of diaries as a kid, and though I’m not straight now I also thought a lot about boys as a kid, because you know, society. I was on my second beer.   And I know a couple people involved in the show, and went to the performance with a friend who had seen an earlier iteration and enjoyed it.

 

Design

Nan

I love it when FringeArts produces the work of little guy companies that are actually local and actually little. My first impression was that though they had moved up into FringeArts territory, it seemed like they still had small budgets and a very DIY aesthetic.

Were they also giving out or selling box wine in the house? 

Linor 

Oh they were giving it out! Hence the rose in my hand. I thought it was a nice touch. Made me feel like I was at an adult sleepover.

 

Nan

For a show that focuses on gaining perspective and the ability to laugh at our groan-worthy teenage actions, I think adding alcohol to the equation was a really wise choice.

Linor

Absolutely. I think it also gave us the sense that even if we didn’t know the performers, we should feel like we were in on the joke.

Nan

They definitely gave us permission to laugh throughout.

 

Linor

 That’s often a problem I have with tightly-knit devising communities here in Philly.  I feel that unless I’m buddies with some of the artists,  I’ll be missing out on all the jokes. But I didn’t get that here. 

 

Nan 

The frames were cool. The actors had a little difficulty getting their heads in far enough to not cast a shadow on their faces. The runway on the set was fun, and the simple dragging on of the mattress– there were some difficulties with the sparkly streamers and the poles falling over when I saw the show, but for a DIY style show, I think it worked.

LINOR

Those problems didn’t happen when I saw it. The costumes ROCKED it- but no designer was credited. 

 

Nan

I wondered if the actors just brought together their own costumes? They clearly had so much fun with them.

Linor 

It was perfect! I saw myself either in those outfits at 12 or coveting the outfits on the girls I admired at 12.

 

Nan

The sound designer also had a ton of fun with throwbacks I think. It was a really solid mix tape.  I think in retrospect I may not have been a cool enough kid in the 90s to fully appreciate the references though.

 

Linor

Yeah I’m also in my mid 20s so my frame of reference is a couple years behind them.

Devising

Linor

There is something universal about a tween/teen whose idea of “high stakes” is totally warped.

 

Nan

Yes, that was the heart of the show for me. The utter commitment of each performer. High stakes is exactly the phrase. It was a really interesting ensemble– I felt like they were trying to represent different kinds of girls, but there was just slightly uneven distribution of juicy content.

Linor

Yeah, I agree with you. I did find it really fun and exciting to watch these super heightened moments where it felt like life or death to have sex, romance or wild intrigue. That felt so relatable to me. Also, the cadence and tone of the tween friendships/relationships was spot on. I have to commend the makers. When Michael T Williams scooted by on his scooter and scared all four girls by shouting something nonsensical I had such middle school flashbacks.

Nan

I enjoyed that the guy is basically a prop, and Williams played that up. The performers presented this content with as much zeal as it was felt at that age, plus a touch of retrospective grownup wisdom.

Linor

I thought the ending was a little hasty and trite.

Nan

I don’t know if there was a tidy way to wrap the experience up. But I also felt the first ten minutes of the show were a bit awkwardly structured. I wonder if they might have benefitted from a writer to help organize things.

Linor

Yeah, I think it could have been about ten minutes shorter. I was curious about the role of the two silent stage hands – the two women dressed in pink.

 

Nan

They were meant to be fun, and took a bit of focus on occasion, but then were basically glorified run crew. It was hard to tell where they belonged in the story.  I wondered why they didn’t just let the cast do it.

 

Accountability

Linor 

This experience was particularly middle class and for the most part white.  I couldn’t help but wonder how the content might have changed if there were girls of color represented in the show.

 

Nan

It was a very limited depiction of experiences. I expected that but was somehow still surprised they didn’t have even one queer moment or any outliers of identity at all– the closest was one mention of Judaism.

I wonder how this ensemble came to be, and why they didn’t think to bring POC or any other kind of minority experience into it at all. In that was it was a coming of age story for the Hilary age I think. It did nothing to separate itself from the narrow experience of white feminism.

In the end, though, I was enough outside the target audience in terms of age and also minority status that I felt left out.

 

Linor

It is refreshing to see a totally earnest portrayal of young female sexuality. So I appreciate that in a time when the politics of sex are being so violently and publicly negotiated. Like, sometimes it’s nice to watch young girls want to experience sex with no darker underbelly – they are sexual creatures, whether they’ve had sex or not.

 

Nan

Earnest is the perfect word. I also feel that it’s really rare to see preteen girls’ experiences articulated by actual preteen girls, and that was lovely to see.

That said, it also felt pretty myopic in its exclusion of pretty much every kind of minority .

 

 

2 thoughts on “Dear Diary LOL- AntiGravity Theatre Project and Fringe Arts

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