BY JAMES FW THOMPSON
It’s hard being a kid these days. Hell, it’s hard being an adult these days, but kids have all kinds of problems that I could not even imagine. Social pressures, rapidly changing technology, peer pressure at an almost constant, literally in your pocket, 24/7 rate—it’s crazy, and it’s actually somewhat difficult to remember and understand that those problems exist for the young people around us.
Thankfully, CBU’s Boardmore Theatre is tackling those very issues in their upcoming production Girls Like That. Originally produced in Britain in 2013, the play easily spans the years and geography (the times have changed, but not sadly not that much in that short a time, and the world is constantly shrinking, after all).
The play deals with Scarlett, a teenager who has a nude photograph posted online. As has happened far too many times in recent years, the picture spreads until it quickly goes viral. Everything changes for Scarlett: her relationships, her reputation, her life. Coincidentally, a second nude picture—this time with a male student—is also in circulation at Scarlett’s school with much different results.
With numerous scandals involving gender, sexual identity, and inappropriate sexual conduct, the Boardmore Theatre’s choice in producing Girls Like That seems to be coming at just the right time.
Mike McPhee, the play’s director and a high school drama teacher, is well aware of the effects of social media on our youth. “Most adults cannot begin to understand the impact that technology and social media is having on our youth,” says McPhee. “The play tries to present these complexities in a compelling and sometimes brutally honest way. It attempts to make sense of how our humanity and our sense of community is being shaped by the rapidly changing world around us.”
In terms of a project for specifically local actors, the Boardmore’s Artistic Director, Todd Hiscock, thinks that Girls Like That makes a lot of sense. “We have a large student population participating in the play for which they are a perfect fit,” says Hiscock. “The cast of 16 female youth can easily identify with the play’s content. Each of them brings their own personal perspective to their roles.”
The play runs November 16, 17, 18, 24, and 25 at 7:00PM and a 2:00 matinee on November 26. It will also be presented to middle and high school students from November 20 to 23.
So, come to the Boardmore Theatre for Girls Like That. Have your questions answered, think up some new ones, and take a look at the lives of some of the young people around us.