Female Desires is a collection of monologues expressing the desires, needs, challenges and fears of young women today. Written by Eliza Martin, the piece is organized into four quartets of interwoven stories, loosely connected to each other thematically. Within a sentence or two of each woman’s story, you understand exactly who she is: Cutter. 16 and pregnant. Gay but likes straight girls. Weight obsessed. Grade obsessed. Collegiate hooker with a heart of gold. Goth girl mad at her mom.
I pay close attention to the lives and stories of girls and women, so I know that these are legitimate portrayals of the real problems facing First World females.
And that is what was ultimately discomforting about the piece. The girls were all white girls with white-girl problems that you’ve seen on Lifetime television, except for the Hispanic girl, an illegal alien and terrified she will be discovered. Her story has the only “aha!” solution to a problem in the entire piece, so it stood out in an uncomfortably marginalized way.
(I also pray that the girl who said she finally loved herself and her body after she got a boyfriend was being ironic and that I misheard in the manifesto mash-up ending that the girls yearn NOT to be academically competitive.)
But more than that, I yearned for more detail in the stories themselves. Martin rendered her comedic stories — all about obsessing for the love of another — with fine nuance. They were a welcome relief because you could let your mind wander into the detail of an ill-planned kiss during Romeo & Juliet or how the hilarious camp counselor met Tristan during a Trust Walk and ultimately did some time knocking over canoes with him.
In the end, Martin’s piece is an earnest attempt to illustrate how girls and women are still trying to find a way to express their true desires. It has a FringeNext vibe (shows created by teens for the Fringe Festival) to it and, while it could use some color all around, Martin should keep at it. I expect her next piece will be far more intricate.