The opening show of University of Rhode Island Theatre's season is the thriller "Boy Gets Girl", written by Rebecca Gilman. The show is a disturbing contemporary spine-chiller about Theresa, a woman whose life of accomplishment is quickly destroyed by Tony, a disturbed admirer. The play works powerfully at its most basic level, as a suspenseful tale about the unraveling of a strong woman's sense of security in the urban jungle. Director Jimmy Calitri states when dealing with a show such as this one, there are many powerful and sensitive themes to excavate. The show not only deals with stalking, but the art of obsession and the complicated nature of gender relationships. Besides the two leading players, the cast includes her two male co-workers, a secretary, a police officer and a movie director. Jimmy chooses the best performers for these 7 roles and surrounds himself with a topnotch staff, too. Amanda Downing-Carney designs all the gorgeous costumes while the scenic design is by Renee Suprenaut with a unit set consisting of the office area center stage, a revolving set on stage left consisting of a bar, a restaurant, a living room and a hospital room while stage right revolving set consists of an inside and outside of an apartment. The lighting is by Matt Terry and sound by Jason Brodeur. The hard working cast obtains a standing ovation as their reward on a job very well done.
Jimmy blocks his cast very well and obtains stunning performances from them. He knows his characters inside and out, mixes the comic and dramatic moments perfectly. I first reviewed his directorial skills back in 2000 when he directed "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" at RIC. It is a frightening and thought provoking show and very realistic in nature. Since audiences might not be familiar with this new work, I will describe the plot. Her friend, Linda sets Theresa up with a nice guy named Tony who works in the computer industry. It is awkward but she accepts a second date and realizes that he isn't right for her and politely excuses herself from the date. Tony continues to intrude further into Theresa's life, with unexpected visits to her office, sending her flowers and unsettling phone messages at her home. She starts to worry when she realizes Tony knows where she lives. At her co-worker Mercer's urging, she calls the police, but when Officer Beck investigates, Theresa realizes that there isn't much she can do. Beck suggest moving out of her apartment and changing her name. Despite all her efforts to avoid him by hiding in her work and opening up to her colleagues, she eventually realizes that he has and will always have control over her life. This once strong and vibrant woman loses everything, becoming a shadow of the woman she once was. Jolie Lippincott, a pretty blonde tackles the role of Theresa, a staff writer for a New York culture and arts magazine called "The World" with gusto. She gives her the hard drive of a woman in complete control of her life at the start of the show. Jolie handles the transition to a nervous, constantly on the guard woman by the close of the show, the erosion of her confidence is wonderful to see. She does an excellent job in this multifaceted role. Jolie played Jen in "Small Tragedy" last fall at URI. Cory Crew, who has sandy colored hair and an innocent face plays Tony, the psychotic stalker. Tony changes demeanor from innocent and gentlemanly at first only to emerge as an obsessive, demented person later in the show. His outbursts of rage and harassment of Theresa are startling to behold and his transition into this demented creature is topnotch especially in the scene where he destroys the inside of her apartment. Cory is adept at villainous roles having played Owen in last season's "The Foreigner" as well as comic roles having played Ali Hakim in "Oklahoma" last year. The audience isn't sure who to root for at first but as the show goes on we learn the depth of Tony's obsession.
The supporting cast members do topnotch work, too. Theresa's fallible co-workers Howard, the sympathetic editor and Mercer, her fellow reporter are wonderfully played by Jesse Dufault and Johnny Sederquist, who was hilarious last season as Charlie in "The Foreigner". Jesse as Howard tries to explain that maybe Tony was only trying to be gallant. Howard helps Theresa by letting her stay at his apartment after she is frightened to stay at there by herself. Johnny as Mercer convinces her to call the police after listening to one of Tony's 20 calls in Theresa's voice mail. He tries to explain that men objectify women in relationships. Mercer has been with his wife for 9 years. His warmth in this character comes through wonderfully and one of his funniest lines in the show is about the new kinds of implants that deflate and inflate with a touch. Harriet,the ditsy incompetent secretary is beautifully played by Stephanie Morgan, a gorgeous gal who played Ado Annie in "Oklahoma" last year. Her character adds to the terror that Theresa feels by revealing too much information to Tony and she tries to cover up for this by buying Theresa presents. The no-nonsense police expert, Madeline Beck is played by Kira Hawkridge who tries to guide Theresa through this traumatic time in her life. She does a topnotch job as this frustrated but sympathetic woman by telling her how to handle this problem with a step by step explanation. Beck explains that is it us or the world around us. Last but not least is Collin Brown who plays Les Kennkat, a soft-porn director whom Theresa interviews. He plays a much older character of a 72 year old man. Les tells her he made movies because he likes big tits and nice asses. A deeper picture of him comes out later in the show when he says the saddest moment in his life is when his wife Kathy, an actress called Joy Box, left him. Both Stephanie and Collin elicit many laughs with their comic portrayals. So for a look at a current day show that is excellently performed, be sure to catch "Boy Gets Girl" at URI.