Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How To Make Friends and Then Kill Them

Halley Feiffer is a talented actress and her play How To Make Friends and Then Kill Them, now playing at Rattlestick, proves that she is one to watch as a playwright as well.
Photo credit: Hal Horowitz
How To Make Friends... is sometimes weird, sometimes disturbing, but never boring. It's about two sisters, Ada (Katya Campbell) and Sam (Keira Keeley) who have an alcoholic mother and no friends, until Ada befriends another social outcast, Dorrie (Jen Ponton). The play follows the characters from the age of ten and revisits them at adolescence, young adulthood, and adulthood. Feiffer uses repetition--a technique that could be annoying or heavy-handed--effectively throughout the play with dialogue and actions, such as a hand-clapping game, being brought back throughout, but changing as power dynamics shift. The play is most successful (and funniest) in the early years as Feiffer effectively captures young female relationships and the cast are believable as children and teens. Campbell is especially fun to watch when she taps into Ada's mean girl side. The cast is strong throughout, but the play becomes increasingly dark and less realistic. Still, Feiffer has tapped into something here, and I'm curious to see her voice as a playwright continue to develop. 

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