Imagine a lyrical little play couched as political theater and you would have a strange anomaly, like this new play “BFF” produced by WET, a young feminist theater company whose important voice is beginning to get heard. The subject appears way too simple. Call it mawkish if you like, but it’s certainly not trite. The story is about two girls who take the oath to be best friends forever, hence the title, “BFF”. But they wake up to adolescence, self consciousness and the fear that their affection for each other makes them lesbians. There are other problems, too, about family and loss that interfere with their coming of age. But the story clearly probes the impenetrable shell young women build around themselves and which we carry into adulthood, should we last that long.
Appropriately, the play’s central prop is LIFE, the cereal kids and adults like to munch on. And its central character is played by Sasha Eden, the company’s Creative Director, who is known about town for projects like RISK TAKERS FILM SERIES, which screens films for teenage girls that they can relate to and talk about. Women’s Expressive Theater, WET, which Eden founded along with Executive Producer Victoria Pettibone, calls on old school feminist politics and expresses those ideals in the plays they produce.
In this production, Sasha Eden portrays Lauren, the little girl whose fear of intimacy leads her to life underwater. Lauren, the adult, is a marine biologist. As the play develops, a mere 90 minutes without intermission, the scenes between the adolescents become relegated to flashbacks, while the present takes place around Lauren’s floundering romance with an anguished young suitor portrayed lyrically with an idiosyncratic edge by Jeremy Webb. He proposes over take out Chinese food eaten out of the carton.
But the crux of the story is about Eliza, the teenager whose quiet withdrawal is expressed through anorexia. Given Laura Heisler’s well textured characterization, her use of understatement and vocal nuances, the role comes to life quite poignantly.
From beginning to end “BFF” is a low budget production in which the actors, intelligently, play roles that are smaller, younger and less complex than themselves. Admirably, Josh Hecht directs them to the truthful self awareness that bespeaks the craft.
By Isa Goldberg
Presented by Women's Expressive Theater at The DR2 Theatre103 East 15th Street- Feb 24-March 24 Mon-Sat., 8PM
Tickets 212-239-6200 or (800) 432-7250