The UVU/Noorda Theater Summer Youth Camp provided the opportunity for hundreds of local youth of all ages to learn from great teachers and to use what they’ve learned. The kids put on three different shows at the end of the camp, including The Secret Life Of Girls, the show put on by the older girls of the camp.
The script by Linda Daugherty tells the story of a group of teenagers who struggle against themselves and each other to climb the social ladder and find security in their world. The dialogue is frank and shocking. Several issues pertinent to today’s girls were covered, including gossip, peer pressure, cliques, sex and boys, eating disorders and self-abuse. The audience was made aware that these problems are prevalent and that something needs to be done for our girls. In the end, the message was one of empowerment and moving beyond victimhood.
What really sold the message was the girls themselves. This play could not have been performed with adult actors. The teenagers who played the girls seemed so real because they were real. Baylee Dodge seemed particularly unaffected as the main character, Abby. Dodge didn’t seem like an actor; she seemed like a girl really confronting the harsh criticism of the other girls in the play. There was a tenderness in her performance that seemed like it could be a weakness, but she surprised the audience by being able to play the stronger end of her emotional scale as she turned the abuse on those around her.
Also of particular note was Kaitlyn Lamb, who will be attending UVU next year and played bad girl Stephanie. Lamb played the role with an ease that made audiences wonder whether she was truly such a manipulative queen bee in real life, but viewers were eventually were let in on Stephanie’s own shortcomings. Lamb adeptly displayed a vulnerability that conveyed that all these characters were at once perpetrator and victim. All of the young actresses were asked to portray multiple facets of a girl’s personality and did so gracefully.
Every teenage girl should see this important play. It’s exciting to see what fine theater the Summer Youth Camp turned out this year, and audiences should look forward to making it to even more of their productions next year.