Friday, September 5, 2014

THE PINK PLAYS by Kerri Kochanski: Review

I was selected as a First Reads Giveaway winner on Goodreads and was graciously given a copy of the play THE PINK PLAYS by the author Kerri Kochanski to read and review.  Thank you Kerri - I appreciate the hard work you put into this collection.

THE PINK PLAYS is a collection of eight short plays with an all female cast.  The topics deal with young women and their struggles with their burgeoning bodies and awakening sexuality.  It is intended for mature teen and adult audiences.

Of the eight short plays in this collection, THE GESTURE and BY LOOKING provided some great options for scene work. Both of these pieces relied on two female characters observing other teens and reacting to them. The dialogue in both made the off-stage characters' presence and opinions very important and had an essence of the schoolyard melodrama that plays out when you are young and still struggling to decide who you are versus who you are trying to be. They would be good selections to use for partner work or when auditioning for contests like the Irene Ryan awards. 

Several of the plays seem to have small problematic moments which I feel would be difficult to put before an audience. Many of these issues deal with specific costumes, props or locations that would cause a break in the action.  Although I think they would present challenges to the actors and director, the creative solutions that emerge through the rehearsal process may be very interesting.

In BUBBS there is a bra which one of the actresses dons that needs to make her appear very busty. If the character was cast as true to age it may be a funny and charming coming of age moment, but on an older actor in her twenties or thirties I would find it a little off-putting. It may be difficult to find an actress that would appear flat chested enough in a leotard to pull off the role of Meg, and also to find the physicality and innocence of a preteen as a college student or older actress.  It is a moment the audience can relate to,  as nearly every young woman has had this worry, but it is the first play in the collection and its placement would set the tone for the evening so you may have to experiment to find the right tone. 

In PAINS one actress carries on a conversation with a voice from the opposite side of a door. I don't know if it would be very interesting to watch as an audience member, but perhaps this play like BREATHE which involves two young women exploring their sexual identity are scenes that are better to watch than they are to read. I'm sure casting and direction would play a huge part on making these plays come to life, but on the page they didn't capture my attention. 

There are a large amount of acting notes in many of these short plays. I would like to see these scenes in production and watch how a director and cast might interpret them.  The roles are easily doubled and I think it would even be possible for them all to be performed by just two women with slight changes in wardrobe, hair and makeup that happened on stage to show the transformations of the actors from "every woman" into these diverse characters that are sharing the stage.  I think THE PINK PLAYS  would be an interesting choice for a student director at the college level or for class work, and would encourage you to support the author by checking out her other works which include the plays THE FOOD MONOLOGUES, PENIS ENVY, THE MARRIAGE PLAYS: 'TIL DEATH DO US PART, COMMUNICATING THROUGH THE SUNSET, SPITTING DAISES and MYTH.  

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