‘Boy Gets Girl’

Josh Rouse

The standard sitcom or romantic comedy plot line usually consists of a boy who meets a girl, falls in love with the girl, and gets the girl. Then he or she screws it up somehow, there is a montage of trendy music and then they end up back together with a passionate kiss. What happens if the part about the boy getting the girl doesn’t go so well? This exploration of male and female relationships was the subject of Rebecca Gilman’s play, “Boy Gets Girl.”

“Boy Gets Girl” is an interesting psychological discussion of when a relationship goes so wrong there seems to be no turning back. The story is about Theresa, a successful reporter for a magazine in New York, played by Melissa Treolo. She is interested in literary figures and is obviously well-read, as she is incredulous that no one seems to know who William Dean Howells was.

Theresa gets assigned to interview a porn baron with a bad colon and a take on life and people that will help Theresa as her story progresses. She also gets set up on a blind date with Tony, a guy who seems nice enough but is a little nervous and lacks a great sense of humor, played by Greg Krumins. The first date goes off like any first blind date would, with awkward glances and forced laughter. However, Theresa agrees to another date with Tony at a nice restaurant. During the date, Theresa realizes that she does not have much interest in this guy and she uses the ever-classic line, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Despite not really meaning that, as we find out later in the play, Tony seems to accept it grudgingly and she leaves.

Tony doesn’t actually accept it, though. He keeps sending her flowers and calling her at work. She gets more and more frustrated with the flowers and orders her clueless but well-meaning secretary, played by Laura Ashley Vetter, to stop accepting the flowers and explains that she does not want to have anything to do with him.

The relationship and Theresa’s life go downhill from here. She realizes that Tony is following her and that he calls her at home right when she walks in the door. She hides in her apartment, begins to receive threatening phone calls and, eventually, graphically threatening letters. Her life becomes smaller and smaller because she is afraid to go outside and she must stay at her boss’, Howard, played by Tom Kennedy, apartment in order to avoid the now-manic Tony.

In a scene where physical acting and music make it one of the most powerful scenes in the play, Tony enters Theresa’s apartment and tears it apart while she is away. Howard and Theresa’s coworker, Mercer, discovers the mess and it only reinforces the situation.

Mercer, played by Matt Steiner, is an interesting character. He starts out as a regular office schlub but soon is revealed to be a man who has taken women’s studies classes and really thinks about the relationships between men and women, how women feel, and why men act or think the way they do. He wants to write a story about Theresa’s situation for the magazine but she refuses. By the end of the play, he comes to understand why. Mercer is obviously a mouthpiece for Gilman to explain this philosophy, but it works and the audience understands what Gilman attempted to communicate with “Boy Gets Girl.”

Another interesting supporting character is Les, an older porn director who likes breasts, played by Michael Scott. While the detail might seem inconsequential, that is how Les describes himself, for the most part. During her three interviews with Les, Theresa is going through the situation with Tony. At the beginning she has fun and laughs at Les’ jokes. In the middle, she is angry and scared. Because of this, she points the finger at Les as a representative of all men and their tendencies toward women. Throughout the course of the play, Les helps steer Theresa back toward a path of moderation toward men, although he doesn’t set out to. At the end of the play Theresa and Les sit and watch “Jeopardy” together and later, Theresa fondly remembers how he only got a few right because he had to leave high school and work during the Depression. She found a kindred spirit in Les, which is a great addition to Theresa’s story.

Finally, after the police and a detective played by Amanda Royer cannot seem to catch Tony and he keeps violating the restraining order, Theresa decides she must make a change. The development of Theresa’s character is a fascinating one. She breaks down and has to rebuild herself because of this situation. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is where Theresa covers a story for her college paper and someone asks her if she is there as a woman or as a reporter. She says a reporter and the woman becomes disgusted. Theresa replies that when someone gave her an identifying choice other than woman, she took it.

Overall, the play was great. The set was well-designed, the dress close to perfect and the acting was very good. Gilman’s script is simple but laced with complex themes that make the audience think about contemporary issues about women and gender.