Bravery take many forms.
Locally, Little Theatre of Virginia Beach is presenting “Boy Gets Girl” by Rebecca Gillman and directed by Sara Bergandi-Hall.
This play tackles a powerful story of dating gone awry and how much it takes to move forward and preserve yourself through harrowing circumstances. The bravery appears in the fight for life and freedom of the main character through the story as well as the choice of LTVB to produce and present a play with such a powerful message through a sensitive topic.
“Boy Gets Girl” follows the story of writer Theresa Bedell, portrayed by Corenn Holmes. Bedell is set up on a blind date by a girlfriend. She meets the date with some hesitancy and not feeling “the click” that one often feels when meeting Mr. Right. Holmes plays a strong character who knows what she wants and doesn’t want. Her stage presence is the right combination of confident and vulnerable. She projects well and it’s easy to hear her in the audience. Her date Tony is played by Brandon Deasey. Deasey came off as one note and was difficult to hear in the audience during his performance. That being said, he still emits the creepy vibe through his short on-stage appearance. During the first meeting, Tony obviously feels “the click” and tries multiple times in multiple ways to get more information from Bedell. He ultimately finagles a second date for dinner with Bedell.
The morning after their first meeting, Tony sends flowers to Bedell’s office. This is odd and upsetting to Bedell because she never told him where she worked or any other personal information. He then appears at the office and sweet talks his way through the ditzy, sweet, naïve Harriet into Bedell’s office. Harriet is portrayed by Coral Mapp. She portrays the assistant convincingly. It makes the part even sweeter to know that she is nothing like her character in real life. Mapp channels her confidence into the naivete and good intentions of her character. By the end of the story you can’t help but feel sorry for the young girl.
In the office, you meet two of Bedell’s co-workers, who offer different types of support through the story. Her boss, Howard Siegelm is played by Mike Dunaven. He is a lovable character with a soft generous side and straddles the line between being a boss and friend very well. Dunaven and Holmes are well matched as complimentary characters. Grant Daniel plays Mercer Stevens, the newest member of the company who is not truly accepted by Bedell. Daniel is a joy to watch on stage. He exuded compassion and concern while maintaining the integrity of the story. By the end, Stevens and Siegel are the ones that Bedell leans on heavily through her scary ordeal of being stalked and hunted by Tony.
Two other characters in the play are Detective Madeline Beck, played by Monica Wolfkill, and Les Kennekat, played by Celestino J. “Tino” Damiano. Wolfkill was challenging to perceive as the detective. She didn’t really carry the sense of authority associated with an officer of the law. She had little comfort to provide to the main character and just came off as insincere. I believe that as the production continues that Wolfkill will find her groove and improve her performance. Damiano as Kennekat provides some comic relief, and proves to be a touchstone for Bedell as she tries to maintain her sense of normal during her ordeal. Bedell is sent to interview him for an article for her job. He is cantankerous and skeezy. Damiano has some great one liners during the production, but the delivery isn’t always spot on. I felt like he was overacting in some instances. Again, I believe that he too will continue to grow and his performance will become stronger through the run of the play.
I especially enjoyed the technical aspects of the production. The set design by Sandy Lawrence and Tom Coffey maximized the usage of the space of the stage. I was particularly enthralled with the hidden apartment space. The set was its own character and contributed to the performance. I want to make a special nod to the people who did the props and staging. The transformation of the pristine apartment into the destroyed space was extremely well done in the time allotted and without a sound. Truly impressive! Kudos!
I also want to acknowledge Sound Designer Noah Young. The music used between scenes and during intermission was subtle and poignant. I caught a couple different versions of “Every Breath you Take” by The Police and also “Invisible” by Clay Aiken; songs about stalking. It is details like this that show the time, attention, and investment into the production.
Costume Designer Lisa Bobotas really knows her 80’s fashion. She has an eye for detail and the skill to create the looks. There were a lot of costume changes throughout the show. While they were good, it slowed down the flow of the play, and unfortunately took too long between some of the scenes, which caused the scene change to take more time than it should have.
As a whole, I enjoyed the play and appreciated the strength of the characters and the creative team behind the production. I was fortunate enough to attend a performance that had a post show talkback. The entire cast returned to the stage along with a panel of local men and women to speak about the topic of stalking and the resources available in our community to help its victims. The panel included Courtney Pierce of Samaritan House, Lanis Geluso of the Virginia Beach Police Department, and Raj Islam of the Virginia Beach EMS. They each contributed valuable insight into the topic of stalking, the components, some legal definitions, and how to ask for help with this type of situation. They even expressed that they felt the play was true to form with some creative liberties.
Bravery comes in many forms. I commend LTVB for their show of bravery in selecting this play. I hope that it helps at least one person discover their own bravery to face a similar situation and use the resources and tools that have been identified to fight for their own story. If you or someone you know needs help, know that you are not alone and there is help available.
The show runs through April 8. For more info or tickets, click here.