In the world of blind dating, there are two main outcomes: falling in love and being stalked. One of these is very glamorous and wonderful, and the other is the premise of this show.
“Boy Gets Girl” is a contemporary drama by Rebecca Gilman about how human relationships work, from romantic to platonic to familiar. Throughout the course of the show, you learn that these characters are more than meets the eye; the men and women alike have been hurt time and time again, and the damage starting to crack through and interfere with everyday life.
Dr. Rhona Justice-Malloy, the chairman of the theater department and director of this show, always sticks with small, intimate shows that are meant to bring social issues to your attention with in-your-face tension and emotion. This is quite possibly the most successful of her shows here with a good script and a solid cast.
Taylor Wood, a senior and veteran to the stages of Ole Miss, gave a realistic and honest portrayal of her character, Theresa Bedell. As a single woman trying to balance her career and her love life at the same time, Wood has true emotions with every line she delivers. From her awkward first date to her emotional breakdowns, her character is exactly what a stressed, lonely woman should be. She is a strong actress portraying a strong female character and it fits Wood like a glove. There is not a moment I would have changed about her overall performance; Wood is definitely a perfect choice as the lead.
Will Harris plays Tony, a very insane man with a lot of love for his mother. As a senior who just decided to audition for some plays one day, he holds himself well enough to get by, but it becomes very apparent that he is not comfortable with the stage and his surroundings to do the character justice.
After their first date, Tony extends an invitation to Theresa for another later that weekend, and she (of course) accepts, but I have no idea why. The awkwardness between the two of them is enough to make the entire audience feel out of place and uncomfortable. This was not a strong pairing, but luckily, the tension pays off in the end.
However, two of the men stuck out to me long after I left the theater.
Jay Jurden, a well-known face around campus, does beautifully with his old misogynistic character and his constant obsession with the naked female anatomy. Jurden is known for his comedic timing, but he is able to leave the comedy behind and seep into a darker, more emotional place full of loneliness and despair at the drop of the hat. Every scene he was in, I was completely engaged on him. His performance is top quality and easily the most entertaining of them all and he quite possibly steals the show.
My other top male choice is Gavin Fields, a freshman from Ridgeland. As Mercer, he brings new light to men and truly wants to help Theresa without any ulterior motives. Fields stays very consistent with his character and was easily the most likable of the bunch. The raw energy he brought to the stage with his presence alone commanded attention, yet he was still a sensitive and truthful man. I look forward to seeing more from him in the upcoming years.
The set is minimal and modern with a few pieces of interchangeable furniture and three sliding panels for walls. It works well overall and the walls move enough to create quite a few different New York City locales, going from office to bedroom to restaurant with a few little shoves this direction and that.
The lights, designed by Paul Kennedy, really bring life to the show. In a scene where Wood is sitting alone in her bedroom, she turns off the lights and a beautiful cityscape of the Upper East Side appears on the walls behind her. The lights really brought focus and dimension to some of the more simple scenes.
I was a bit disappointed in the usage of music in this production. There was very little background music, if any at all, and very loud, abrupt music during all scene-changes and breaks. It didn’t seem to flow with or fit the show as much as the other technical elements.
Overall, this show is a complete success with spurts of comedy mixed with a dark story that many women have had to tell. They deliver a strong performance with an important message that everyone on this campus can relate to in one way or another, making it a perfect getaway after a crazy weekend or two of football.