Atlanta Art Reviews by Susan K Asher
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‘Bachelorette’ at 7 Stages Theatre

2011 September 7

Ann Marie Gideon, Sarah Blackman and Elizabeth Lanier. Photo by Drake Simons.

Having witnessed three women in their twenties buying marijuana from unknown sources at a New York City park and drink liquor from their diaphragms, it is easy to believe that women that age would get plastered on booze and drugs, have sex with strangers and ruin the wedding dress of a bride the night before her wedding.

Lesley Headland’s play “Bachelorette” shows what mean, “cool” girls from high school are like 10 years after graduating.

Regan (Sarah Blackman), a bridesmaid for her high school friend Becky who is getting married tomorrow, has invited two friends from their high school days to stay with her in a posh hotel suite, since Becky probably won’t be in until the morning.

After a night of partying on the town, Gena (Ann Marie Gideon) and Katie (Elizabeth Lanier), both attractive and dressed in short, revealing outfits, stumble into the suite already wasted. After Katie kicks off her red do-me, high-heeled, peep-toe pumps and the two down bottles of Becky’s champagne and snort lines of cocaine, the women talk about the dos and don’ts of giving a blow job. A stylish, stunning beauty dressed like Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Regan enters. None of them can believe that Becky is marrying a wealthy hedge fund manager! And Becky is a “fatty!”

Two other guests of Regan’s enter, men she has just met that night. Jeff (Bryan Brendle) and Joe (Barrett Doyle) have brought marijuana, and Jeff is determined to get Regan into bed.

The story may sound Jerry Springer like, but it is believable and captivating. Unfortunately, the acting is not.

Pinch ‘N’ Ouch Theatre, just in its second year, is producing edgy works that could attract young, hip crowds to the theater. Pinch ‘N’ Ouch aspires to follow the teachings of Sanford “Sandy” Meisner, one of the most widely respected acting teachers of all time. Meisner used to say an actor doesn’t say “ouch” until he feels the pinch. He meant an actor doesn’t say a line until he feels the impetus to do so, and he must give himself a strong internal reason to do so. But on the third night of production, the actors’ responses seemed canned rather than internal.

However, there were moments when truth was present, and the tension between the performers was palpable. When Jeff lays Regan on the couch on her back, straddles her, looks her in the eyes, slips his hand under her dress, he taunts her.

“Want  to feel that. . . That. . . Right. . .There.”

Regan finally TRUTHFULLY reacts. And so do I—get me a washcloth, quick!

“Bachelotte” by Leslye Headland, directed by Grant McGowen and featuring Jessica De Maria, runs through Sept. 18 at 7 Stages Backstage.

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