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A CurtainUp Review
Everything Will Be Different
By Jenny Sandman
You look stupid, Charlotte. ---Harry
Why can't you want normal stuff like everyone else?& --Gary
Christopher McCann & Laura Heisler
Christopher McCann & Laura Heisler (Photo: David Gochfeld)
Adolescence is difficult under normal circumstances but for social misfits it can be downright gruesome. Witness Mark Schultz's new play, Everything Will Be Different,. It's star, Charlotte (Laura Heisler), is a nervous, awkward fifteen-year-old.

Charlotte's mother recently died. Her father has withdrawn and she has only one close friend (who may just be imaginary). Lacking all but the most rudimentary social skills, Charlotte makes all the wrong choices in her quest for intimacy. She consequently ends up alienating everyone around her thus deepening her isolation and frustration. Those who say high school is the best time of your life are clearly delusional.

Like most teenage girls Charlotte wants to be beautiful, sexy, famous, and admired. She is convinced that she's ugly and sees this as the source of her problems as a lack of beauty. This leads to a fixation on Helen of Troy. The idea of beauty and desire's power becomes tangled with her own version of that story which will fulfill her wish to revenge herself against everyone who doesn't notice her and to become famous and desirable. In her newly concocted personaas a porn star she will lavish affection and indiscriminate sexual favors on the boys around her (Jason Jurman as the nerd Franklin and Reynaldo Valentin as Freddie, the beautiful, insensitive jock).

Her best friend Heather (Naomi Aborn), who is popular and pretty, supports Charlotte's quest. But as fantasy begins to overtake reality, she starts stalking her guidance counselor (Geoffrey Nauffts) and Freddie the jock. Unfortunately her father (Christopher McCann) is so wrapped up in his grief he cannot reach out to his daughter.

Good as Schultz's play is, it would fragment without a strong actress in the main role and careful director. Fortunately he has both. A revelatory Laura Heisler perfectly captures the sturm und drang of fifteen-year-old misfits in a performance that is heartbreaking in its honesty. She holds the production together with the other characters largely ancillary. Daniel Aukin's direction is exemplary as always. He has a sense for the intricacies of human relationships. The pain at the heart of this play is kept in sharp relief, as Aukin moves the story through each of Charlotte's failures.

Everything Will Be Different is brutal in its unflinching portrayal of Charlotte's burgeoning sexuality and her accompanying emotional immaturity. Her desperate quest for prettiness and fulfillment is the stuff of every teen movie ever made, but Schultz's taut scenes repudiate the glib teenage clich├ęs. His writing is brisk, and the play's sometimes unclear relationship to reality heightens the inherent tension. He's given us a poignant if unsettling play that's well worth the distressing emotional journey.

Written by Mark Schultz
Directed by Daniel Aukin
Cast:Naomi Aborn (Heather), Laura Heisler (Charlotte), Geoffrey Nauffts (Gary), Reynaldo Valentin (Freddy), Jason Jurman (Franklin), and Christopher McCann (Harry)br> Sound Design by Shane Rettig
Set Design by Kip Marsh
Lighting Design by Jane Cox
Costume Design by Kim Gill
Running time: One hour and forty-five minutes with no intermission
True Love Productions, SoHo Rep, 46 Walker Street, 212-868-4444.
Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm.
All tickets $15.
04/07/05 through 04/30/05
Reviewed by Jenny Sandman based on April 13th performance Soho Rep with at Soho Rep, 46 Walker Street, SmartTix 212-868-4444
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