girl,20 Theatre Review - Groundbreaking Play Arrives In Hollywood

girl,20 includes some smoking and partial nudity

" girl,20" is a smart edgy production that never leaves the audience wanting. Attending the Opening Gala (Sept. 16th, 2007), there wasn’t an empty seat.  Originally receiving Critic’s praise at their world premiere in Chicago last year, Serendipity Theatre Collective brings their groundbreaking play to Los Angeles.

Jade was played by Rachel Sondag

After writing a sexually explicit essay, college freshman Jade (Rachel Sondag) is referred to the university's free counseling program where she learns her sessions will be observed and taped for training purposes. From our first introduction the characters are immediately established with no question of who they are. Marty (Rob Belushi) is a grounded film student with a lust for life and cool extroverted persona that you can't resist. Whereas Sam (Madison Dirks), is the too serious introverted career tracking grad student that the audience can't help but empathize with. This odd couple is well, oddly balanced in the sense that Marty's endlessly entertaining dialogue is constantly spurred on by Sam's lack thereof. Faulty AV equipment (part of the show), that had no audio instigates a more heightened interest in what is being said by one of the patients being observed. This unheard girl, speaking with no voice as she bears

Sam was played by Madison Dirks

herself to the observers, inspires a heightened sense of exposure through body language and the less is more of what is seen but not heard.

Both quickly begin observing Jade's sessions with more than just a professional interest antagonized by their own interpersonally challenged relationship. This overshadows the underlying plot of the entire performance as the audience is swept along in suspense of "what is she saying?"  This forbidden fruit is becoming tempting. Sam (Dirks) and Marty (Belushi) become captivated in their circumstance and can't help but step outside their third party status and desire to know more about this mystery that is Jade. Inevitably lines are crossed and the observer affects the observed and who is going to watch the watchers.

Marty was played by Rob Belushi

Playwright Ellen Fairey should be applauded for her well constructed play brought out by the strong performances of the cast, that bring her intellectual production to a head as the audience is inevitably drawn into the relative nuance of real life dramas that we all share. The downward spiral of these two observers picks up speed until it crashes into the surprise ending that leaves the audience second-guessing all the things they took for granted throughout the play.

Thanks to Matthew Miller’s excellent direction, and a stellar ensemble, together they present a psychological and provocative dramedy delivered with snappy dialogue, performed with perfect execution, that had the audience laughing, then, leaves them speculating any previous assumptions as the pieces fall into place of what really happened.

The strengths of these performances leaves me with eager anticipation of what great things can be expected of these young talented actors in the future. Without a doubt, this play deserves all accolades it will be receiving and belongs on the must see list of any lover of theatre.

The Lighter Scene with Belushi, Sondag, Dirks

Even though it was Emmy night, the Opening performance was sold out and there was a Gala Party immediately following...The cupcakes were delicious!   Jim Belushi should be very proud of his son and the rest of the Cast & Crew!  Awesome!

(left) Publicist Sandra Kuker, Jim and Rob Belushi (right) Dirks, Sondag, and Belushi at the Gala After Party

girl,20 runs September 15 - October 20 at The Hudson Mainstage Theatre located at 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood, California 90038. Show times are Thursdays-Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 General Admission. Running time is 75 minutes, no intermission. Secured valet parking and wheelchair access available. Performance includes some smoking and partial nudity.

Rachel Sondag, Rob Belushi, Jim Belushi, Matthew Miller and Reese Witherspoon at The Gala Party

For reservations, call (323) 960-7726 or RESERVE ONLINE:

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