No Girl | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

No Girl, Stone Circle Theatre Ensemble, at Voltaire. The workshop process can be a valuable editing tool for a play. In the case of Emma Vogel's No Girl, however, it appears to have acted more as a shredder.

The story begins with buddies Mike and Joe loafing in a Sunday afternoon celebration of masculinity ("Sunday! Man day! No women, no girls!"). The arrival of a badly injured female hitchhiker sparks a change in the fraternal dynamic, however, that leads to violence. Is Vogel trying to say something about the inherent dangers of male bonding? Or women as a covert threat to such bonding? Are Mike and Joe allegorical illustrations of the predatory and the protective male, or just all-American boys clinging to their preadolescent innocence? What does it mean that Jo, the woman whose initial vulnerability sparks the discord, introduces the weapon and provokes the anger? The characters' histories are presented in such a fragmented manner that even when two of the three are lying dead, we don't know any of them well enough to care.

The Stone Circle ensemble, under the direction of Jennifer Blackmer, does what it can with this pile of narrative remnants. But though individual actions follow one another with adequate logic, the playwright's ultimate purpose remains nebulous.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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