Female Trouble

Historyonics' Ahead of Her Time: Four Women in the Twentieth Century and the Washington University Performing Arts Department's Gitanjali are similarly flawed

Now, Neil Simon spent much of his early career exploring the vicissitudes of young couples' relationships, but he let his plays be about one relationship, no matter what else was going on. This draft of Gitanjali is overwhelmed with the variety of relationships -- mother/daughter, daughter/ boyfriend, boyfriend/buddy, boyfriend/ mom, mom/suitor -- and doesn't scratch the surface of any. When Gita is upset, she goes to the library the way a drunk heads for the corner bar, but aside from the occasional mention, we learn nothing compelling about her thesis subject or, as stated, Indian culture. All the characters, despite their age, have adolescent responses and quote authors (Balzac, Rushdie) as if Euro. Lit has just let out. Director Dana Friedman positioned her young cast so that important moments happened upstage, or with actors sitting on the couch, and she had more eating scenes to deal with than any director should handle. As Gita, Nastaran Ahmadi did petulance well, but there wasn't a lot of depth to her reconciliation (then again, it's not really in the script). Cate Brewer was an extremely Anglo Meera -- at first we thought it was part of the conceit, that Gita was actually of mixed race, but, alas, no. Nick Choksi, as Ravi, smirked becomingly, and Nicolas Montemayor handled the unrewarding supporting role of Mohan agreeably enough. Authenticity was presumably on hand at the postperformance reception, catered by a local Indian restaurant.

Ahead of Her Time: Four Women in the Twentieth Century continues through May 14.

Nastaran Ahmadi as Gita in Gitanjali, which bears the marks of too much revision and far too many plotlines
Nastaran Ahmadi as Gita in Gitanjali, which bears the marks of too much revision and far too many plotlines
Debbie Dawson in Historyonics' Ahead of Her Time
Debbie Dawson in Historyonics' Ahead of Her Time

CORRECTION: In last week's review of Guys and Dolls, the actor playing Sky Masterson was misidentified. Dallas Amsden played the role.

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