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Women make scenes that are provocative yet lacking

Women Making Scenes
Directed by Sue Downing.
Kresge Little Theatre, Feb. 27-29.

By Hattie L. Schroeder

Women Making Scenes is clear in its intent. Twelve women make up the cast and crew of this collection of dramatic monologues and play excerpts. Sometimes ignoring any subtlety, the scenes go straight to the root of many women's issues, including pregnancy, abortion, women in management, and the cost of tampons. The pieces vary in subject and wit, but not in tone. This collection is proudly about women's search for freedom in body and spirit. The company wishes to generate discussion and challenge assumptions by "making a scene."

Don't be frightened: The performance is not all raised fists, anger, and tears. The raised fist is gentle, and at times witty. Computing how much money a single woman may spend on feminine products during her lifetime has to be funny. When a scene of this collection, like Seven by Kirsten Hoyte '92, and A Girl's Guide to Chaos by Cynthia Heimal, uses wit to raise awareness, it becomes entertaining and friendly, inviting the audience to think about the issues involved. But at times the communication in these scenes becomes anger and a piece becomes so self-conscious that it risks overshooting its goal and being ignored. It is not clear sometimes if this is the fault of the writing or the acting.

Poor acting frequently gets in the way of much of this production. Most of the actors play several different characters and must adopt different voices. This feat is successfully accomplished, but at the expense of some quality. However, there are some excellent performances. Jennifer Duncan '92 as the central character of Female Parts: Same Old Story is intriguing and almost flawless. Michelle P. Perry '92 and Toni Baker '92 also portray interesting and convincing characters.

The minimalist stage and good direction smooth a production that could be fairly coarse. This collection attempts to create an environment that no single play could. It is admirable for that ambition. Many gender issues are explored in the short scenes; every scene is distinct. And it's free. An open discussion between the company and audience will follow each performance.