Tuesday, April 19, 2016

WHEN I WAS A GIRL I USED TO SCREAM AND SHOUT on Theatre Row


L-R: Zoe Watkins, Aedin Moloney and Barrie Kreinik in WHEN I WAS A GIRL I USED TO SCREAM AND SHOUT. Photo by Carol Rosegg..
When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout by Sharman Macdonald premiered in London in 1984 and was first produced in New York City four years later.  Now it is being revived by Fallen Angel Theatre Company at Theatre Row’s Clurman Theatre on West 42mnd Street in midtown Manhattan, marking its first off-Broadway production and its first production by an Irish/British New York based company.

Fallen Angel was founded in 2003 by Aedin Moloney, a highly accomplished actress who recently delivered an outstanding performance as Margaret Willoughby in the Mint Theatre Company’s superb production of Women Without Men.  Now she is doing it again, delivering a fine performance as Morag, a beleaguered Scottish mother attempting unsuccessfully to repair her damaged relationship with her daughter Fiona (Barrie Kreinik).

When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout is a memory play set on the rocky coast of Scotland in 1983 when Fiona is a grown woman in her late 20’s, shifting back and forth through a series of flashbacks between that time and Fiona’s early childhood, her pre-pubescence, and her teenage years.  What is generally established is just how blissfully ignorant Fiona and her best friend, Vari (Zoe Watkins), were of all things sexual and theological in their early years, how Fiona not only did little to alleviate those conditions but contributed to them, and how it all led to the direst consequences including Fiona’s impregnation by Ewan (Colby Howell) at age 15, her subsequent strained relationship with her mother, and the failure of mother and daughter to ever truly reconcile.

The performances of all four cast members were commendable but as for the overall production, not so much.  The play is really two separate plays, one a slice of life impressionistic expression of Fiona’s relatively stultifying upbringing with its emphasis on her sexual and religious ignorance and the other a more structured rendition of the events leading to her pregnancy and her subsequent relationship with her mother.  But the two plays never really mesh into one - the first is more smarmy, anatomical and distasteful than enlightening and the latter, which should have provided the play’s driving force, is much too tepid to be truly effective.


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