The Theatreguide.London Review
In March 2020 the covid-19 epidemic
forced the closure of all British theatres. Some companies adapted
by putting archive recordings of past productions online, others
by streaming new shows. Until things return to normal we review
the experience of watching live theatre onscreen.
Lincoln Center Theater Summer 2021
audience for this play would be parents of teenage girls, because the
message is that the kids are all right.
Theater continues to fill the imposed gap in production by putting
archive videos of past shows online. Here Sarah DeLappe's 2017 play
is an almost plotless picture of an American high school girls'
soccer (i.e. football – there are jokes about the rest of the world
calling it by the wrong name) team.
In a string of
and pre-game warm-ups the girls stretch and practice while chattering
about anything from world affairs to local gossip. Writer DeLappe,
director Lila Neugebauer and the cast capture a very attractive image
of not-fully-formed, occasionally callow but essentially good kids
coping with the ordinary and extraordinary crises of being teenagers.
They win some
games and lose some, deal with fitting a new girl into
the team and losing one to injury, learn by trial-and-error how to
joke and not go too far, and cope with a death among them.
the last, none of these things really shake them because, as the play
shows us, their friendship, their dedication to the game – they
really do work hard at training – and their inherent mental and
emotional health carry them through.
One way in
which the play is not
fully successful is in individualising the girls. There's the bossy
one, and the new one, and the not-too-bright one, and so on, but the
differences are minimal, and when at the end we learn that one has
died I couldn't tell which it was, even with the rest onstage before
But that, of
course, is at least partially intentional, as the
play is more about the general sense of the group than any
individuals – the girls' names are rarely mentioned, and they are
identified in the cast list only by their uniform numbers.
of that is that none of the excellent adult actresses really stand
out. And if they are only intermittently successful in conveying a
sense of adolescents, one of the play's points is how unexpectedly
adult the girls can be.
This is one of
those rare and surprisingly
satisfying plays in which nothing seems to be happening and yet we
come away with a good feeling that all is well. The kids are all
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