More Drama than a Bender in Manch-Vegas: “Lost Girls”

Presented by Take Your Pick Productions (and the Bob Jolly Charitable Trust)
By John Pollono
Directed by Melanie Garber-Letitia

Jan. 12 – 21, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts (Deane Hall)
Boston, MA
TYPP’s Lost Girls on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Lost Girls brought back memories I’d nearly forgotten about growing up in northern New Hampshire. I went to school with kids whose parents worked the register at the one Dunkin’s as their main source of income. My uncle is a Tea Party politician (we don’t talk to him). New Hampshire is deeply conservative place whose inhabitants honor their motto, “live free or die.” Alas, “living free” is usually expressed by making rash, uninformed choices in the name of freedom. Watching this play was a painful albeit nostalgic reminder of home.

Deep in the trenches of Trump country, somewhere near the North Conway section of the Kancamagus Highway, Maggie (Audrey Lynn Sylvia) is livid because her Honda Accord was stolen during the worst blizzard of the season. Mom, Linda (Christine Power) offers no moral support. Lou, the Ex husband (Terrence P. Haddad), and his “librul” wife Penny (Lauren Foster, whose nails are a nice touch) nose their way into Maggie’s business. Everything is a mess, and then the high school notifies them that their daughter Erica (Lesley Anne Moreau) and friend (Zach Winston) never made it to class that day. The Moms fear that their own teenage mistakes are being repeated. It’s a Snowpacalypse and the Maggie is the eye of the storm.  

John Pollono’s script is fun. He peppers his dialogue with colloquial New Hampshire references and recognizable slang. We hear “wicked” and several offensive slurs used in casual conversation. The script’s deceptive cuteness evolves into relatable psychological drama. While we meet these people during a difficult episode, they are more than just a broken family arguing over an absent teen. Pollono packs a few punches. There are hidden depths in this one-act about women’s multigenerational relationships.

The cast does a great job with the sometimes wonky script. The humans they play are messy and real. They found several striking moments of sincere, unexpected intimacy. All of them could have been my oversharing childhood neighbors. Haddad as Lou the cop was one of my Dad’s RCIA students. Power and Foster embodied the women in my Mom’s babysitting co-op.  

Moreau and Sylvia took most naturally to their characters. Sylvia’s stewed anger vibrates with past traumas. Her entrance energy wasn’t the explosion intended by Pollono. It’s clear that she can dominate her scenes but her execution needs tweaking.  

Moreau and Winston are dumb-ass kids (you know the ones) for whom independent thought is a missed epiphany. These innocent, impetuous, idiot teens don’t know much but they feel everything. And their feelings are, like, so important. It hurts to see them make such vacant, foolish choices.    

The accents were more Boston than they were New Hampshire. The capitalist wet dream that is the North Conway outlet malls and surrounding areas are thisclose to Maine… Or Canada. Don’t be Seth Meyers. Get yasself to Clark’s Trading Post instead. 

Lost Girls is a one-act play chock full of the raw spark and nasty pizzaz. It’s the kind of theatre that reminds us of Boston’s fringe history. It inspires the kind of pride that convinced New Hampshire to vote Trump. Lost Girls starts rough but blossoms into a fully functional, entertaining 70 minutes of theatre. Support your local fringe artists and go. 

Queen’s Note:
We elected a thin-skinned Nazi to the office of the President who is turning our “democracy” into a fascist, totalitarian oligarchy dominated by the 1%. Trump is a monster. His policies, when he names them, are destructive. His narcissistic behavior is more so.

Congressional “negotiators” released a spending bill that saves the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for Humanities, and National Public Radio until September at which time, the President and his impotent cronies may still cut arts funding. It is ever important to remain vigilant. And, for the love of all that’s sacred, keep creating. If you need help, ask for it. Our existence is our resistance. May the force be with you. – KD

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