Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Theater Review: Slowgirl

Sarah Steele and Zeljko Ivanek. Photo: Erin Baiano
Communicating Through the Generational Gap and Family Relations
By Lauren Yarger
Greg Pierce's new play Slowgirl getting a run at Lincoln Center Theater's new Off-Broadway LCT3 stage also gives us a new way to look at communications and relations between generations and people who don't have a whole lot in common.

The problem isn't so new, however. Becky, a young teen (Sarah Steele), has gotten into some trouble at school and escapes by flying to the jungle doorstep (well, actually, there aren't any doors, she discovers to her horror) of her uncle Sterling (Zeljko Ivanek), whom she hasn't seen since his wife left him and he he left the US years ago for the forests of Costa Rica (represented by green wooden slats surrounding the hut-like structure designed by Rachel Hauck. Sound Designer Leah Gelpe provides jungle ambiance.)

The effervescent Becky is a sharp contrast to the meek Sterling, for whom doing eye-muscle exercises is a highlight of the day. It seems almost painful for him to contribute to the conversation, but Becky's prowess for long motor-mouth, profanity-laden passages in which she seems oblivious to Sterling's being in the room quickly fills the gap. Becky enjoys getting some of the stress over her situation off her chest -- no one back home believes her version of the situation, that it turns out, might land her in jail. The more she reveals details about a party in which she and her friends abused a mentally-challenged classmate they call Slowgirl who was seriously injured, the harder it is for Sterling to believe her either.

He tries to provide comfort by sharing his hospitality, a sympathetic ear and hope through spiritual focus. Hauck's set lifts to reveal a labyrinth which Sterling has constructed and the scene where Becky is just not able to embrace the "silent" contemplation part of their walk is a hoot. Meanwhile, Becky discovers that Sterling has some skeletons in his own closet and that the self-induced exile in the jungle which has kept him from spending time with the sister with whom he used to be very close and his niece might be because he is avoiding the law as well.

As the two people desperately in need of someone in their corner allow each other into their private worlds, a bond of friendship is formed during the week-long visit. It's a nice blend of nicely developed characters, a plot that isn't predictable and strong performances in the two-hander ably directed by Anne Kauffman.

Slowgirl runs through Aug. 5 at The Claire Tow Theater (on the roof of the Beaumont, 150 West 65 St., NYC). Tickets and info:

Christians might also like to know:
-- Language
-- Lord's name taken in vain
-- Sexual dialogue
-- Drug use

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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