Spotlight: Tale of a West Texas Marsupial Girl

Sarah Johnson

True to its title, Lisa D'Amour's new play revolves around a girl born in Texas (Anna Reichert) who inexplicably sports a kangaroo-like marsupial pouch on her abdomen. Her hippie-chick mother (Autumn Ness) reassures her that this physical distinction makes her special, but the wider world weighs in with a less charitable opinion. After a few years of home schooling, Roo-Gal goes off to school with the other kids. Open-minded Sue (Nadia Hulett) strikes up a friendship, but arch-soshies Libby (Jessie Shelton) and Pearl (Teresa Marie Doran) ostracize the new girl. Looking after her throughout is Dr. Pouch (Luverne Seifert) , who delivers an unapologetically hammy and rootin' and tootin' number while pretending to strum a beat-up geetar. (The music, by Sxip Shirey, is nicely off-kilter—sort of a swampy beat-box hillbilly mélange.) Less compelling is the mammsupial herself. Reichert provides ample charm and energy, as well as a surprisingly husky blues tone in some of the songs. But the script defines Marsupial Girl by her difference and keeps hammering the point. There are nice touches here, such as the pouch's magical qualities: It moans with otherworldly voices when she opens it, and allows her to steal people's voices. Everything comes to a head when Marsupial Girl endures one humiliation too many, and begins to steal the voices of everyone in town. This fury threatens to escalate into a frightening, Columbine rage, as she shuts out the big bad world entirely. It's a bit like Carrie at the prom, but no menstrual blood emerges from the pouch—this being a children's show and all.

 
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