Girls Like Who?

In the acting lab of the Greer Garson Theatre, the cast of Girls Like That by Evan Placey congregates for another rehearsal, chatting among themselves and pulling chairs up into a lazy line. The first notable detail about the group is that the majority of those present are young women, who are as diverse as they are kind and eager to start rehearsing. While the atmosphere in the room is pleasant and professional, these young women are entering a transformation to evoke the themes of the play: pack mentality, female competition, and double standards.


Anna Vandermark is a junior acting major.

Girls Like That is a play about a naked photo of Scarlett, a high school aged girl, electronically leaked and circulated throughout her peers. The plot revolves around the cutthroat nature of girl-on-girl emotional abuse or judgment, as well as the complications present for young adults in our age of technology. As a play that will be performed on a college campus, the choice could not be more fitting or important, especially for the female audience. The group of actresses seem to understand this concept very well, noting their excitement about the material they have been working with under the guidance of Director Shad Willingham.

Anna Vandermark, a junior acting major and part of the cast, has found that the process of finding her character and meaning in the text has been unique compared to others. “This show is very different in many ways, one of which being that there aren’t a lot of pre-assigned lines,” Vandermark says. “The hardest part for me will be finding the action and a thought process behind the randomness.”

Despite the difficulty, the lack of script lays out more depth and analysis for the cast and their characters. Vandermark describes a process of searching, with Willingham’s assistance, for a common thread in the lines her character does have, creating characterization that may not exist with a different method and allowing her to further bond with her character.

With the unusual rehearsals and intense script analyzing, much of the meaning and power in the final product will be created by the 24 actress cast. When asked about how she identifies with the storyline and themes, junior acting major Natalie Fox answers with confidence, “I have definitely been on the receiving side of girl-on-girl character assassination.” The lack of hesitation behind her answer is not uncommon for young women. The same question posed to Vandermark has a similarly sure response, though more specific than Fox’s.

“On some levels. I was never really a part of girl culture and I did my best to flush slut shaming out of my system,” Vandermark says. “I mean, people in my high school didn’t care how promiscuous you were. It was actually unusual if you weren’t at least a bit sexually active. I think that there is an inherent culture of slut shaming that exists globally, and that is painfully relatable.”


Heather Campbell is the stage manager for Girls Like That.

It seems the audience for Girls Like That has every opportunity to take a message back to every day reality once the show ends, ranging from ending slut shaming to being socially conscious of the young woman’s struggle with her sexuality in nearly every facet of daily life. “I don’t think there’s a direct message; it’s a representation of behaviors that happen every day,” Fox says. “The audience can derive their own meaning.”

There is truth in her statement in that the issue of this behavior is broad enough to be received slightly differently by individuals. Each actress is given the opportunity by Willingham to work to reach her own conclusion using her own experience.

“He’s got a really good sense of the cast’s energy and how to steer that in a productive direction, which allows the actresses to reign in that stimulation and just play,” Vandermark says, in regards to Willingham’s handling of the subject matter, a shared view by Fox and others in the cast.

In order to better understand the complications of the female experience in the age of technology and with one another, audiences should attend Girls Like That for the dedicated actresses’ process and topical subject matter.

Girls Like That opens at 7 p.m. on Oct. 28 and 29, 2 p.m. on Oct. 30, and 7 p.m. on Nov. 4 and 5.