Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

August 1, 2016


Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield, MA
through August 6, 2016
by Shera Cohen

“Mean Girls” meet “Macbeth.”

Photo by Justin Allen
The crux of the story, somewhat in the language of playwright Jiehae Park and her two lead characters, might go like this…Yeah, it’s like, you know, well, a play in a high school, an anywhere high school, doesn’t matter. And, oh, it’s crucial, I mean vital. Yes, vital. It’s so absolutely necessary that we – you know, both of us – I mean, it’s our plan. It’s just so perfect. The scholarship. T.H.E. one. Nothing, I mean nothing ‘n no one will mess it up.

Twins L and M (hmm, might they be Lady and Mr. Macbeth?) are determined seniors who will succeed in their goal at all costs. Laura Sohn and Sasha Diamond are exceptional young actresses who portray the shallow, cunning, evil, and smart duo. They speak like teens (see paragraph above) in a machine-like stance and volume, each at warp speed. No worries, however, as their enunciation is as clear as the school bell. The production’s other three actors echo “Macbeth” characters. Knowing this might give an edge up to appreciate the story, however, it is by no means necessary.

The playbill describes the play as “a comedy until it isn’t.” So true, but no spoilers. Louisa Proske directs Park’s one-act black comedy with assurance. Tight – every word of dialog, scene change, and music is tight, with a distinct purpose. The audience can almost “see” the wheels spinning in the school girls’ brains; planning, altering, and acting on their mission.

The minimal sets tell us just enough. Green lockers – ah ha, it’s a school. This is important as numerous scenes appear and disappear at a pace that mirrors the rapid speed conversations. Kudos to Ryan Winkles, fight director. This is no cat fight as the sisters get down ‘n dirty.

More and more, theatre venues are producing one-act pieces, oftentimes by new (usually young) writers; better yet are world or regional premiers. Barrington Stage takes the lead in hosting some of the best original works, not only in the Berkshires, and not only in the summer months, but throughout the region and the calendar year.