Everything is big in Texas, or so I’ve been told. Big sky, big land, big opinions, big accents. So to be a Texas teenager, in the 1980’s no less, must have been a tall and interesting order. Eddy Roger Parker’s About A Girl takes us back to Texas in the 80’s, introducing us to four kids living under those big skies with even bigger problems.
Directed by Eddie Page, Justine (Jenni Patton)is a young woman from a violent home, who is “rescued” by the school’s football star, college-bound Ashley (Ben Norcross). Ashley sees her through breakdowns and self-injury as their respective friends Jett (Heather Norcross) and Meat (Matt Williams) hang around, providing comic relief and plenty of substances.
Justine’s abusive father moves the family to Galveston. While she’s away, Jett and Ashley fall in love, and when Justine returns with child, their worlds are further complicated and friendships tested. As their problems get bigger, so does the drug supply, and soon some of them find themselves in deeper trouble than they ever imagined.
About A Girl covers much ground in a short period, with minimal set, and thoughtful use of the projector to set the scene. The characters, rough around the edges but mostly lovable, are crude and loud and often confused, rebelling against expectation. This feels real. The speed with which the characters confess and couple up and disappear feels less so.
Heather Norcross electrifies the stage as Jett, a rebel without a cause and feelings for her best friend’s man. She has a way on the stage that’s difficult to take your eyes off of, even as her charm becomes marred with dysfunction. As Meat, Matt Williams is a delight, as is watching his character grow from goofball to young man.
About a Girl
by Eddy Roger Parker
at Gallery – Goethe Institut
812 7th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Details and tickets
The script is peppered with some nice moments, frequently filled with banter and the absurdities of teenage life, but the telling over showing, the urge to tell all and tell fast, sometimes caused the drama to miss its marks. The piece would benefit from doing more with less, and diving deeper into the honest scenes that show who the characters are.
I would never want to be a teenager again. From Texas to Maine, the struggle is inherent, and for kids from troubled families the struggle is worse. One hopes kids like Justine, Jet, Ashley and Meat come out on the other side.