BWW Reviews: World Premiere of LOST GIRLS Addresses Teen Pregnancy Across Generations
LOST GIRLS by John Pollono is a hard-hitting working class drama about people struggling to redefine family. "The struggle of America's working class sometimes gets short shrift in pop culture--either represented as generic American Heroes, or as struggling simpletons who need to be saved. But the reality is much more interesting and it is through the specificity of portraying the working class as they really are, flawed, triumphant and human, that we can achieve something much more truthful and universal," says Pollono.
John Perrin Flynn's fast-paced direction keeps the story moving, centering on Maggie, a bitter divorced woman whose seventeen-year-old daughter goes missing during a winter blizzard. When her ex-husband (and his new wife) show up to assist, the former high school sweethearts are forced to confront their tragic history.
The more overarching theme addresses the cycle of teenage pregnancy. Maggie (Isidora Goreshter) had a baby when she was 18; her mother had her first baby when she was 16; her grandmother had a baby when she was 15. And now her teenage daughter Erica (Anna Theoni DiGiovanni) is missing along with Maggie's car. When her ex-husband Lou (Joshua Bitton) mentions he knows Erica has a boyfriend, Maggie's world starts to fall apart with fear her daughter is making the same bad decision she made at 17.
Tension mounts as Maggie's mother Linda (Peggy Dunne) and Lou's seemingly perfect wife Penny (Kirsten Kollender) try to offer their support, but with this much past history in one room there is no way to keep tempers from flaring and arguments becoming loud and bitter. When Lou and Maggie hear a multi-car crash has taken place on the highway and Maggie's car was involved, fear mounts when no one can tell them whether or not their daughter was found.
With an assist from the cast, David Mauer's creative small space set changes back and forth into a seedy motel room in Connecticut, enhanced by a snowstorm of lights designed by Jeff McLaughlin flowing across the stage. This is where Erica and her friend Scooter (Jonathan Lipnicki) have taken refuge from the storm, three hours away from home. Erica has convinced him to drive her down to Florida so she can be with her much older boyfriend. We see the young girl's version of events as they happen, so the audience knows where she is when her parents do not.
Kudos go to all the cast members, especially Joshua Bitton and Anna Theoni DiGiovanni for their ability to show such a wide range of emotions and deep vulnerability. When left alone, the three women (Peggy Dunne, Kirsten Kollender and Isidora Goreshter) reveal themselves as deeply flawed human beings, trying to do the best they can with what life has brought their way. Each of their back stories will touch your heart, with Dunne's foul-mouthed Linda the saddest of them all, blaming society for their ills rather than taking responsibility for her own actions. The tender scenes of first love between the teens DiGiovanni and Jonathan Lipnicki are both heartwarming and scary, knowing what their actions may put into motion given Erica's family history.
As more details are revealed in Maggie's story, we find out what happens to the teen. It's surprising and shocking - and won't be revealed in this review! John Pollono is to be commended for incorporating the wild turn of events so smoothly into the story that you will not see it coming!
LOST GIRLS runs at 5pm Saturdays, 7pm Sundays, and 8pm Mondays through December 16, 2013. Run time is 90 minutes with no intermission. ROGUE MACHINE is located at 5041 Pico Blvd., LA, CA 90019. Tickets are $30. Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at www.roguemachinetheatre.com
ROGUE MACHINE THEATRE is a collective of award winning and prominent Los Angeles based directors, writers, designers, and actors. Rogue Machine believes theatre to be an integral part of community life, a sacred space where audiences gather to be challenged, inspired, entertained, and provoked.
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