Truth or Dare Dares us to Empathize

1 Jun

Reviewed by Nicholas Linnehan

Four teenage girls go away for a weekend in the woods, but only three come back. It’s a harrowing nightmare that changed these girls lives forever. This is the premise of Project Y’s production of Truth or Dare byTori Keenan-Zelt. This is a powerful piece, but its organization can be tricky to follow.

Childhood friends, Maeve, Ursa, Linney, and Hannah embark on an all girls sleep away in the woods. The girls generally bond, but typical squabbles arise as these girls test each other. Finally they arrive on playing Truth or Dare, but that goes arriigh when some of the girls chicken out of the “dares”. Frustrated by their lack of conviction, Ursa makes plans to meet up with some boys and ditches Hannah and Linney. They are then left to fend for themselves and after a fight, Linney goes off by herself and sadly drowns after jumping off a very high cliff. The rest of the plays alternates between the immediate and future aftermath of that tragic incident.

The four actors a top-notch. Roma Scarano plays Ursa, the fiery, but deeply troubled girl with gusto. Her energy is vibrant and fills the stage. Emma Suarez plays the conflicted Hannah well. Watching her wrestle with her inner struggle is captivating. Essence Stiggers plays the innocently immature Linney with exuberance, making her demise all the more painful to witness. Nuala Cleary plays Maeve, the love-sick teen, with skill. She pitches her character perfectly.

My only contention with the piece, is its frequent time jumps from past to present. Although costume changes help make it clear, there is still a level of uncertainty about where we are at certain given moments.Yet the overall story is compelling and is a good opening to Project Y’s expose of Women in Theater. They are presenting 32 works in 22 days, an impressive feat. If all the pieces are as provocative and intricate as Truth or Dare, the series is bound to be a success.

Truth or Dare is presented as part of the Women in Theater series through June 24, 2018 at 154 Christopher Street. http://www.projectytheatre.org

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