by Emily Kaye Lazzaro
Directed by Jeffrey Mosser
Reviewed by Becca Kidwell
(Boston) New drama is a tricky game that needs to be practiced over and over again. Even after all of that practice, the playing field is the only true test of its mettle. Girls’ Sports has gone to court to test itself and it’s come up short.
Girls’ Sports lacks cohesion and foundation. Many ideas are thrown out such as Title IX, equality, life balance, life inequality, and avoidance without really tackling heart. The primary core of the action surrounds Sam Pascutti, played by Melody Martin. Melody Martin brings a fresh presence in a torn-up world. She brings a young, confused teenager fully to life with depth and honesty. She makes the most sense out of confusion through her fantasy monologues, but the script does not allow her to hit any true reality within the story. The story cannot decide on who Sam is and so she is left pivoting between being a snarky teenager, her father’s conscience, and his advocate. Martin goes further than should be possible.
Holly Newman and David Marino also give strong performances and their characters are pretty obvious. Susan Pascutti is the Hilary Clinton-like real estate mother with two children-her child, Sam and her husband, Robert. Robert is a weak, willed man who tries to find importance through women, but never finds himself.
Every character seems to be marking time between emotional outbursts. The real scenes of “everyday life” are shattered between high personal stakes of keeping a marriage and a family that are already separated. Jenny Reagan tries to insert herself as Robert’s lover, but her character is simply a straw on a house of cards.
The revelation of Robert’s affair seems only surprising to him. Yet, Sam seems to give no indication that she knows or cares until the affair is revealed to the audience through Robert and Lillian. While she should be confused as awkward teenager should be, when does she notice the affair and why does it occur after that particular moment that Sam decides to have a “heart to heart” with her father? They seem closer than Sam and Susan, but there’s no precedence for Sam to be confrontational when she does not seem to have been overly angry with him before that. Where’s the spark? What is the impetus behind all of these emotional outcries? Susan seems clueless about the affair, yet has little struggle with letting her whole family fall to pieces when she finds out, as if she was expecting it; or if she was expecting Robert to mess up, why was this the first time that she showed hurt or neglect? Yes, she’s a stolid person, but she never gives any indication that she wouldn’t fight for her family-she forces Sam to stay for dinner at the beginning of the play but brushes Robert off with little thought of her marriage, of their child? This doesn’t make Susan a comfortable character to end the play with. As for Lillian, she has no depth of any sort. The audience has no reason to understand the relationship between her and Robert (she seems smarter than that) and she does not seem particularly warm and nurturing to him in the “mother-figure” that he seeks in any way. I’ve done a hundred laps around my brain trying to find a cohesion or theme within this script, but it’s simply long swings on a putting green.
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Unfortunately, Emily Kaye Lazarro’s intentions do not win out in the end; Girls’ Sports needs more development. It has interesting ideas about life and life’s priorities but none of the crumpled papers tossed at the wastebasket provide a strong story or substantial characters. Girls’ Sports needs to do a hundred laps and then try again.