The Foundry Theatre
Melanie Joseph, Producing Artistic Director
THE ROARING GIRLE
Written by ALICE TUAN
Adapted by ALICE TUAN and MELANIE JOSEPH
THE ROARING GIRLE (1611)
By THOMAS MIDDLETON and THOMAS DEKKER
Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Avenue (Entrance on 25 St. bet. Third & Lex. Aves.), NYC
February 21 March 21, 2004
Directed by MELANIE JOSEPH
Produced by BONNIE METZGAR
Choreographer DAVID NEUMANN
Sets LOUISA THOMPSON
Lighting NATASHA KATZ
Costumes DOEY LUTHI
Sound JILL BC DU BOFF
Fight Choreography RON PIRETTI
Stage Manager JANE POLE
Press Representative SPIN CYCLE
Okwui Okpokwasili Moll Cutpurse (A Roaring Girle)
Harry Hogan Lord Noland, Mr. Openwork
Marissa Copeland Sir Davy Dapper, Pru Gallipot
Douglas Rees Alexander Rees
John Epperson Mr. Gallipot, Lavenderia
Rebecka Ray Ros Openwork
Michael Urie Sebastian Wengrave
Clove Galilee Tif, Various
Michael Huston Fen, Various
Jodi Lin Mary Fitzgallard
Steven Rattazzi Laxton
Andrew McGinn Trapdoor
Steve Cuiffo Various
Mike Caban Various
THE ROARING GIRLE is a stellar example of a creatively ambitious notion gone horribly awry, in many directions, all at one time. Conducted in a style best summed up as, "Actors, do whatever you want. It is not possible for your characterizations to be too inconsistent. Dramaturgy? Whats that?," this play, adapted by Alice Tuan and Melanie Joseph from a much older work of the same name exhibits quite clearly that tinkering with time can have onerous consequences.
In terms of plot in THE ROARING GIRLE, we are introduced to a hybrid-era town, where the laws are more than punitive and designed to quash individual freedoms, but where the citizens at all levels of the economic stratosphere find ways to circumvent expectations. Theater is outlawed, and soon smoking even in private is too. Of course, such prohibitionist tactics breed the expected subculture of paybacks, bribes and machinations. Of course, the culture clashes mean that the son of "Super Rich" Alexander Wengrave, Sebastian, wants to wed a penniless lass called Mary, much to daddys chagrin.
Of course, The roaring girl of THE ROARING GIRLE, one Moll Cutpurse, an androgynously dressed power-woman who flaunts her sexuality and pens plays, will ultimately save the day. As Moll, performer Okwui Okpokwasili has the stature and the manner required, but her line delivery is not sharp, and this undermines the implicit strength the character is meant to have. She tries, and at least she is not excruciatingly annoying, as is Jodi Lins Mary, when played solo or as part of a handful of busy ensemble pieces. John Epperson is all but wasted in a dual role (readers may know him as performer Lypsinka), Marissa Copeland, also playing two parts, is given some room to shine, and Andrew McGinn gets to poke fun at the speeches in current events, but overall, no one really has the quiet stage time to make a clear impression.
I knew that things are particularly bad when I was able to spot four or five locations on set pieces where the SmartTix number (yes, the agent doing the ticketing for this event) was used as the phone number for a quite unrelated establishment. That tidbit, I submit to the readers, stands as the shining example of the base level of desperation at work here. The set and costumes were actually good, but the actors shout, the girls attempt to roar, and some promising points are largely lost in the overall cacophony called THE ROARING GIRLE.
Obviously, I am not recommending that readers attend THE ROARING GIRLE, but if you think you might want to, as an added attraction, the play runs over two hours with an intermission. At least the seats are comfortable!
- Kessa De Santis -