Saturday, March 7, 2015

Be Aggressive

Play #50 - Be Aggressive by Annie Weisman

You know what's sad? This play is in a collection of plays, and on the back of the book... the title of the play is spelled wrong. I don't get how they let that happen. <sigh>


The action of Be Aggressive orbits the impending project to build a new freeway through a coastal development. Phil, father of Laura (17) and Hannah (11), is a consultant working on the project. Judy, mother of Leslie (17), is a leader of the movement opposing the construction. But what really sets the plot in motion is the death of Laura and Hannah's mother, the news of which kicks off the play. She was hit by a car while running along the construction zone, leaving her family to fend for themselves. Laura wants to go on working at the smoothie shop and attending cheer practice, but her father and Hannah keep trying to foist all of her mother's responsibilities onto her: she should make dinner, she should drive Hannah to Hebrew school, she should buy the groceries, she should always be there - ALWAYS. It's an awful lot of responsibility for a 17-year-old girl. So, when one of her fellow cheerleaders - Leslie - suggests that they sneak off to attend an advanced cheerleading seminar on the other side of the country, she is willing to go to almost any lengths to make that happen. When the girls take off, their parents are left to wonder, to worry, to collide from opposite sides of the freeway rift... but none of the issues end up mattering all that much in the end. The freeway dispute reaches a settlement, the girls come home (it turns out the brochure Leslie had was... a little outdated), life goes on. The crisis of Laura's mother's death set everything off kilter for a while, but a new normal has to establish itself. It just takes time to find it. And before it came along, it felt like it would never arrive, but it did nonetheless.

This is an interesting, energetic story about a search for identity in a world that has stopped making sense. The pace of the storytelling is a little frenetic, which I find appealing and could be a cool challenge in production. I might consider using some of these scenes or one of the monologues for work with undergraduates - it's definitely close to home for that age group. 

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