Our bonus meetup of the month was to go watch Monica Byrne’s critically-acclaimed What Every Girl Should Know at Impact Theatre, which was in a way, a double bonus – the WWSF meetup group also got to spend time with the playwright after the show. The conversation was as revelatory as her play was riveting.
NYTheatre.com (now an archive-only site) has some rich praise for Byrne (as seen on Impact’s season page): ““Monica Byrne…has masterfully drawn a smart, funny, air-tight play and, from the first lines, we feel we are in the safe hands of an exceptionally talented writer.”
Robert Hurwitt of SFGate brackets the play as “Teen Rebellion” and exults in Tracy Ward’s able direction and Erika Chong Shuch’s choreography: “Director Tracy Ward stages it with a cagey, forceful momentum that draws us in and seamlessly incorporates Erika Chong Shuch’s sensuously explosive choreography for the girls’ mystical ecstasies.”
The all-female ensemble has much reason to celebrate. TheaterDogs’ Chad Jones hails the work of the fabulous work of the four female leads:
“Bega, Edber, Pollack and especially Stebbins give powerful performances that only grow in intensity throughout the play’s 100 minutes. They don’t necessarily seem like people from the early 20th century, but their emotional reality is more important, and they really deliver, especially when it comes to conveying the growing—sometimes unsettling — bond between them.
What Every Girl Should Know is scaled perfectly for the intimate stage space of La Val’s Subterranean (set designer Anne Kendall creates a plain but absolutely believable dorm room) and the result is one of Impact’s most dramatically satisfying productions yet.”
You will remember our interview with Monica Byrne from our TACTICs series (curated by Amy Clare Tasker), where she notes her conscious decisions to sway casting in favor of all-female ensembles: “Achieving gender parity is simply a matter of will on behalf of those who have the power to enact it.”
WWSF would love to hear what you have to say about the production, if you were a part of the meetup. Share your sentiments in the comments in support of all the women involved:
Playwright: Monica Byrne
Directed by: Tracy Ward
Choreography: Erika Chong Shuch
Set Designer: Anne Kendall
Cast: Arisa Bega, Elissa Beth Stebbins, Abigail Edber, Carlyle Pollack
Image courtesy: Impact Theatre