Now playing at the Clurman Theater at Theatre Row, Fallen Angels Theater Company's revival of Sharman Macdonald's 1984 play When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout explores teenage sexuality, the fissures in communication between generations, and the coping mechanisms we adopt to rationalize the past.
Aedin Moloney gives a strong and compelling performance as Morag, a past-her-prime divorced mother who plans a vacation by the Scottish shore, where she raised her daughter Fiona (Barrie Kreinik), in an effort to reconnect with the now grown woman. Fiona, 32 and childless, is bombarded with her mother’s criticisms and forced to relive painful childhood memories, such as feelings of abandonment and uncomfortable moments of sexual discovery alongside her childhood friend Vari (played exquisitely by the very talented Zoe Watkins).
Playwright Sharman Macdonald handles delicate coming-of-age issues and prepubescent misconceptions about sex with humor and tact while also baring the hurt, shame, guilt, and self-doubt and loathing that manifests from a sexually repressed upbringing, and under the direction of John Keating, the cast expresses a bold and loyal commitment to these themes. Transitions to flashback scenes are expertly carried out, incorporating well-designed collapsible and flexible set pieces (by Luke Cantarella) and economical costume changes often carried out on stage. Music director and composer Paddy Moloney, of The Chieftains, provides a haunting and beautiful backdrop to the thought-provoking production. When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout depicts the decisions of a young girl and the reasoning behind them so clearly and accurately, that any audience member -- even those without the memories of a teenage girl -- will be able to empathize.