Audacious Babe: Just Because You Have a Cape Doesn’t Make You A Hero.

Au-da-cious (aw-dey-shuh s)- adjective 1. extremely bold or daring; recklessly
brave; fearless: an audacious explorer. 2. exJustify Fulltremely original; without
restriction to prior ideas; highly inventive: an audacious vision of the city’s
bright future
. 3. recklessly bold in defiance of convention, propriety, law, or
the like: insolent; brazen. 4. lively, unrestrained; uninhibited: an audacious
interpretation of her role

As I sat in the Imperial Studio watching The Adventure of Audacious Babe and Glowgirl it struck me how much this show is actually quite the opposite of this definition. This play was written by Carolyn Thomas, and is described as an exploration “of the rollarcoaster lives of two women who band together to navigate the turbulent waters of finding true love… and they become each other’s superhero for life.” I was really struck by the concept of the ‘everyday’ superhero, and the idea of girls turning each other into superheros strongly appealed to me, but this play ultimately fell far short of my expectations.
The biggest challenge in this production is Thomas’ script. Firstly, it is difficult to escape the feeling that this play is trying to be a different version of Thelma and Louise or even The Banger Sisters (yes, I did see that movie); but ultimately it never achieves heroics of any nature. Audacious Babe and Glowgirl are not superheros, even in the sense of those in every day life. Superheros fight crime, they battle evil, they spread goodness and bring peace. Audacious Babe and Glowgirl fight with one another bitterly, bring misery to Audacious Babe’s mother, the nurses at the care-facility where they both wind up, and to dozens of other unnamed characters with whom they have failed relationships. The script is fraught with scenes that do nothing to advance the plot, and dialogue which when spoken aloud is reminiscent of a rambling Improv scene in which the Improvisers continually seek to block the other’s suggestions for pages and pages on end. Ultimately, I wasn’t given anything in the script that prompted me to care about Audacious Babe or Glowgirl or whether their friendship float or sunk.
It is unclear who directed this production, but it is curious that the strongest decision that was made was the directorial choice for Audacious Babe to never be seen onstage, but only to have her voice projected from backstage. As far as I was able to understand, there was no reason for this choice, apart from insuring that Sarah Crowell didn’t have to learn her lines. At the same time, impressive life-size puppet-dummies were used to represent Audacious Babe’s mother and Audacious Babe’s senior citizen boyfriend. I was also unsure what the director was intending to imply by using these puppets, as there was no connection between Glowgirl and any of these directorial elements.
Carolyn Thomas also played Glowgirl, and she, like Crowell, spoke in an affected “theatre voice” which made the characters even more difficult to relate to. Their choices were not recklessly brave, bold, brazen or original, but both made extremely wishy-washy choices which added to the sense of confusion about why this particular story needed to be told, and why an audience should invest themselves in these slightly alcoholic “heroes”?

I understand that this is Thomas’ first play, but I would encourage her to seek out a dramaturg who can help her shape the arc of her next work and then, perhaps, she may be on her way to creating something that is truly audacious.

Venue: Neptune’s Imperial Studio. $7.00.

Schedule: Sun Sept 6 at 5:10pm, Mon Sept 7 at 5:50pm, Mon Sept 7 at 9:10pm, Fri Sept 11 at 6:20pm, Sat Sept 12 at 5pm, Sun Sept 13 at 5:20pm.

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