By James Karas
Boys With Cars, now playing at the Young People’s Theatre, is written, choreographed and performed solo by Anita Majumdar. If you are not impressed by such a display of talent and ability, well, you should be.
The play deals with the world of teenage girls in a high school in Port Moody, B.C. Naz is of Indian origin and Port Moody Secondary School is largely white. Majumdar takes us though the angst and experiences of teenagers that are even worse for girls of different racial origin.
Relationships with boys play a central role. Naz has a boyfriend called Lucky who breaks off the relationship when she “fools around” with his friend Buddy. How do boys view girls? The macho, sexist, demeaning attitude of men towards women and boys towards girls that some of us would like to see as something from the past is very much alive and thriving in the Vancouver suburb of Port Moody (and the rest of the country for that matter).
Bullying, the question of consent and the horrors of growing up are all brought forth by Majumdar. If a girl is raped, can it be considered her fault?
Majumdar is an extraordinary dancer and she performs some beautiful numbers that she has choreographed.
The second half of the play focuses on Candace, the blonde, popular student who gives lessons on YouTube about dress and makeup. The worlds of Naz and Candace seem totally separate but they are also similar. She is nasty and competitive with boys, especially Buddy, being her target and a way of one-upping Naz.
The audience consisted almost entirely of high school students the afternoon that I saw the production. They were attentive and during the Q&A period following the performance showed an admirable grasp of the issues presented in the play.
Majumdar explained that it took her about 10 years to write the play which in this version for young people combines two plays from The Fish Eyes Trilogy - Boys with Cars and Let Me Borrow That Top.
A highly praise-worthy production for teenagers.
Boys With Cars by Anita Majumdar runs from March 23 to April 1, 2017 at the Young People’s Theatre, 165 Front Street East, Toronto, Ontario. 416 862-2222. www.youngpeoplestheatre.ca