The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings





Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants









Free Updates
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
Conversations 'Bout the Girls

The "girls" in the title doesn't refer only to the all-female cast of this multi-faceted meditation. It's one of the many nicknames for those distinctive features of female anatomy clinically known as breasts.

Sonia Jackson starts her play with a run-down and history of the many nicknames created for the "girls," including "jugs" as in milk jugs and "headlights" as in the twin beams of a car throwing themselves forward into the night. As the 19 skits unwind, we're conscious of the vast amount of attention and conversation evoked by breasts throughout our lifetime.

The nine women in the first-rate cast come in all sizes, ethnic groups and ages. They begin with their earliest memories of waiting for those bumps to begin and the not always pleasurable experiences when they do, such as being the first and only one in your class or being admired for those alone. That wonderful actress Jackie Zane is delicious as a little girl.

Specifics are explored via"Tell Me About Nipples" , "My First Bra, No, My Second", "To Cleave or Not To Cleave" and "Nursing Is A Whole Other Thing." In "The Ladies Room", women side by side looking in a mirror compare notes on breast surgery.

An exception to the breast-centered plays is "She's So Sweet" in which a realistic Hayley Munroe plays a college girl who ranges from sweet to wild and concludes that sweet is better. Munroe deftly catches the growing sense of slightly cynical reality that accompanies a girl's immersion in the adult world. Exotic Meryll Jean Locquiao brings a sly warmth and enthusiasm to her observations.

Breast cancer is the subject of "She Didn't Tell Me" when a girl (Noemi Torres) talks with controlled pain about her mother's cancer in a day when there was no reconstructive surgery. Her mother walks slowly across the stage towards her, one of the many imaginative uses of blocking by director Cysco Xavier Drayton, the sole male involved in the creative side of the production. This is followed by "Anger", a reaction to the disease growing inside her, written with spare power and hauntingly performed by Angela Bennett in powerful contrast to the rich laugh and gleeful dancing with which an exhilarating Bennett enlivens other scenes.

"What Do I Say?" is done in three parts over the course of the evening. Gayle Galvez's youth and beauty give heightened poignancy to the quandary of a woman who has had breast cancer and reconstructive surgery and, as she begins to be asked on dates, wonders when to say what to the men. Should it be at first, second or third base? Home run apparently is a terror too implausible and far away to even consider. ""he Lump", performed with skittish intensity by Julie Janney, reflects the anxiety women feel when they follow the stages of the first lump

The appearance of implants and reconstructive surgery is openly discussed. Some women feel the new breasts look as if they're detachable and regret the sight of sagging skin around two flawless cones. By extension, a culture that treats breasts more like accessories than glands that feed babies is revealed in all its emphasis on appearance and materialism.

By the time the play ends, we share the bond these women have with each other, though theirs is sculpted by Jackson's writing and Drayton's direction. Jackson is the narrator, as well one of the actresses. Her reaction to breast feeding in "Nursing Is A Whole Other Thing" gives her a chance to show her sharp flair for humor. As clear-eyed a writer as she is a performer, Jackson writes with compassion shorn of sentimentality

There's room in this subject for even more plays. Too bad this one didn't include such ancient history as the bare-breasted women of Crete, the flat-chested women of the Roaring '20s or the dangers of implants. One audience member, a cancer survivor who had reconstructive surgery, suggested a scene subject of her own: the pleasure of walking down the street in a well-rounded sweater, smirking to herself as she caught admiring eyes, ""If they only knew."

Conversations 'Bout The Girls
Playwright: Sonia Jackson
Director: Cysco Xavier Drayton
Cast: Sonia Jackson, Angela Bennett, Gayle Galvez, Julie Janney, Meryll Jean Locquiao, Hayley Munroe, Noemi Torres, Jackie Zane.
Lighting Design: Dan McNay
Running Time: 90 minutes, no intermission
Sundays at 7:00 PM
3/19/06 to 5/14/06
McCadden Place Theatre, 1157 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood, (3230 960-4451
Reviewed by Laura Hitchcock on April 9, 2006.
Stage Plays
The Internet Theatre Bookshop "Virtually Every Play in the World" --even out of print plays

Playbill Broadway Year Book
The new annual to dress up every Broadway lover's coffee table

Stage Plays
The Internet Theatre Bookshop "Virtually Every Play in the World" --even out of print plays

©Copyright 2006, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from