Girls Like That is a timely reminder that the battles of young women are not necessarily gender pay gaps, parity in the workplace or our sexual harassment laws but the judgment we place on each other.
This short run play at Holden Street Theatre was performed by Alternative Theatre Company and while they call themselves an amateur company nothing felt amateur about this production. The stage choreography and performance were worthy of any stage in South Australia. This cast of 7 young women bought gusto and commitment to every line delivered.
And for them this was real. It was not a story of a fictional world or characters removed from themselves but the story of what happens to a young woman who chooses to share a nude selfie with her lover who then in turns shares it with the world. In this case the world is everyone at high school.
Judgement of this young women and themselves is brought bare and the repercussions leave the audience feeling raw and vulnerable. Girls Like That was written by Evan Placey and first performed in 2013 in the United Kingdom. Clearly when it was first written it was at the zeitgeist of the repercussions social media, and sadly a tale we have still a lot to learn.
The actors came to their roles with a real sense of identity and it was clear that in the development they knew exactly what was being told here. It is their reality where young boys who share their self-nudes are heroes and young women are sluts. But not only are they sluts in the minds of their male peers, but more damaging their female peers.
As mentioned this was a play first performed in the United Kingdom and I feel a bit more effort could have been put in to adapting it for an Australian audience. This would not have taken much, just changing lines here and there however this is a minor qualm. With social media and smart phones so accessible this is a story that can be adapted universally and has many years to run yet. I watched this play with my son who had only just heard of a classmate with nudes on his phone. He found it quite intense in moments while very undeniable in others.
The presence of sexism and the patriarchy is present here too but it serves as a back drop to what young women are already experiencing with peer pressure and judgement.
I caught Girls Like That on its second to last performance and while that means readers of this review miss out on catching the performance for themselves I hope it encourages anyone who has the chance to read this play or see this production to do so.
My main motivation for writing this it to commend every young woman who took the stage at Holden Street Theatre for the commitment they gave. Bright stars shone in a moment that also cuts deep.