There has been a lot of chatter in my house about Mean Girls coming to Broadway in the spring. My daughter is PUMPED to see this show. I must admit I share her enthusiasm and have acquired some (okay A LOT of) tickets to A: quell her badgering and B: make sure we see it before ticket prices kick up and C: I think it will be great fun to see it with a group. Who’s in?
I thought of Mean Girls when I was in the theater for a performance of 20th Century Blues. This play addresses just about every facet of the inevitable and not always pretty aspect of aging. The story follows 4 very different women and the course of their lives over a 40 year period, as documented by the photographer in the group on a yearly basis since they were 25 years old. It’s sort of like fast forwarding The Plastics from Mean Girls 40 years into the future and seeing what might have become of them.
On a thin and (to me) not so very believable conflict point, the women cover the topic of identity – as in who are we as a person laid bare? Take away your job, your significant other, your children, your hobbies and who is left behind? Is that someone who you want to be? OR do you find someone that relies on all of those other things to define you? AND is it even possible not to be defined by what we do versus who we are?
With the exception of this point, the play strives to cover so much that it was a little too much on the surface for me. It was as if the playwright made a checklist of all of the possible life struggles one could face and then wrote the play from there. Plastic surgery? Check! Aging parents? Check. Drinking? Check. Kid/no kid? Check. Career choice? Check. Politics? Check. Bi-sexuality? Check. Cancer? Check. Social media? Check. Race/Racism? Check. Dogs dying? Check. Adopted kid and his struggle with meeting his birth mother? Check. Divorce? Check. Body image? Check. Arthritis? Check. Ageism? Check. Balance issues? Check. Pre-mature death? Check. At one point the real estate agent character broke out a joint for about 10 seconds which was an odd non-sequeter to me and seemed like just another check. Clandestine pot smoking? Check.
I enjoyed watching these women interact on stage. I spent a good deal of time wondering who the person cast as the photographer was. Turns out it was Polly Draper from ThirtySomething, which I watched in my twenties and remember thinking they seemed old! Whoops. At the end of the play (and during the bit about the dog) I shed some tears and was happy and grateful to have spent time with these four women and the fun women with me in the audience. I would recommend this show for all the ladies in the group. You will laugh, you will cry and you will think. Grab Your Group and GO, but keep in mind it is closing January 28th.
While you are there be sure to take advantage of The Pershing Square Signature Center. I wish we could see all of our shows here just for it’s inviting cafe and bookstore. Go early! Stay after! Enjoy the space. Quietly pretend that you don’t see Amy Sedaris at the table next to yours…
On this particular occasion I had been invited by a friend who went on to invite 6 other friends from various phases of her life – with only her as our common ground. It was so fun meeting this convivial crew! The cafe was the ideal location to quickly get up to snuff with these strangers who now, through the experience, have become new friends and are now part of my theater group – welcome ladies! What a great idea to lasso a mix & match group; it’s something we should all do more often. Thank you Katie! It was a very Grab Your Group and GO kind of afternoon – my very favorite kind.