By Holli Harms
There are stereotypes and cliches, such as “actions speak louder than words”, that have their place at the table. Often a smaller character in a film or tv show or novel or play will be a stereotype to help put the audience immediately in a place and time and immediately know what they’re dealing with, what they’re watching,.setting the stage for the more nuanced complex characters. Kate Hamill’s new play, BadAss GalBoss Power Hour features the stereotype female looking to advance under the guise of female power and inclusion, but the reality is each is out for herself. Saying one thing and doing another, a reflection of who we are.
We are in the world of Zoom with four friends who work for the same company which is Avon on steroids, selling defective makeup and perfume, and outdated vitamins, things that no one should really be putting on nor in their body. But these women want to be their own boss. The idea of being a Sharktank entrepreneur, of being what our society tells everyone you should be striving for – more and more money, prestige are where it’s at. But these women are part of a lie and profligate that lie to the nth degree. They shame one another. “Mommy brains take over business minds,” is what they tell one member of the group who wants out because she has a young child and wants time with her infant. Everything is over the top, the girls screaming as if they are their own cheerleading squad, but the difficult part is that we the audience do not know what they are cheering about nor why. They say they are entrepreneurs but they are really part of a pyramid scheme with unreachable awards promised; such as mountain bikes with a certain amount of sales but THEY are the sales. They buy the product first and then try to sell it. How much they buy gets a certain commission so the more they purchase the bigger the commission. They lose money but get the commission that will allow them to work their way up the “corporate ladder” to the mountain bikes and trips and so much more. No subtlety there.
It is the new “possible” member Mona who points out that this is a pyramid scheme and that they are getting nothing in exchange for their loyalty and dreams but no one is listening. Reason has no place here.
Unfortunately in this play, there is nothing here that has not been said or done before. It has its clever moments but I would like more. I need more. Depth of story, depth of character, nuance.
The acting is all solid, as is the directing, but the story leaves no impression.
BadAss GalBoss Power Hour features Hamill as “Lily,” along with Kimberly Chatterjee (Pride and Prejudice) as “Sherry,” Krystal Lucas (Pride and Prejudice) as “Mona,” Jason O’Connell (The Dork Knight) as “Jonathan,” Maria-Christina Oliveras (Amélie) as “Marianne” and Miriam Silverman (The Anatomy of a Suicide) as “Carla.”
Find streaming online at Primary Stages
FREE ON-DEMAND STREAMING:
September 23 – October 13
Running Time: One Hour