"The structure of 'Athena' can feel too pat, the culminating bout predictable. But to director Miller’s credit, that bout is a long, real-time slog up and down the piste, effortful and tough, and a little ugly...The play treats these girls and their ambitions with the seriousness they deserve...The twining of these characters and performances makes 'Athena' hugely appealing and stealthily moving...Parts of it cut so close to lived female experience, that they hardly feel like fiction at all." Full Review
"This taut new play about precocious teen athletes is blessed with an exemplary cast...Miller guides Awe and Greer through a series of brief but meaty scenes that trace the girls’ relationship from strangers to competitors to sort-of friends. Gardner’s script skillfully employs teen drama stereotypes to first play into, then subvert audience expectations. The world of the play seems both highly specific and deeply relatable...A remarkably assured and insightful work." Full Review
"Wily and entertaining...The two are precocious, preternaturally funny, and hyper-articulate. But the intense, quirky Athena complicates this combination with an underlying emotional opaqueness...This ambiguity is one of the play’s finer touches...Undermining this dry humor, though, is Gardner’s difficulty in filling in the girls’ outlines and differentiating their voices. At least when the inevitable showdown comes, Gardner adds an interesting twist." Full Review
"Emma Miller’s production is a solid rendering but there is perhaps a deeper layer of Gardner’s work that does not completely rise to the surface. However, 'Athena' is time well spent with these vibrant, truthful characters...Awe and Greer do valiant work. They carry the burden of the rich text well and roll with the humor and the physicality of fencing. However, when the drama escalates at the end, their performances lack the buoyancy to lift the play to that final emotional crescendo." Full Review
See it if you value giving female stories/writers/artists the attention they deserve. You love dry humor, rapid dialog and wonderful deadpan delivery.
Don't see it if you're not interested in teenage friendship explored onstage. If you want something larger in scale than two characters on a singular set.
See it if you want an absorbing, beautifully choreographed (fencing), genuinely funny play about the brilliance, meanness, and heart of teen girls.
Don't see it if you only like realistic drama/dialogue, you dislike seeing the ambiguity of teen friendships, you want a clear emotionally satisfying end.
See it if you enjoy stories of girls/teens growing up; tho predictable at times, this is well-done & often rings true.
Don't see it if you need lots of drama to stay awake; yes, there is fencing action, but this is more abt relationship building btwn two teens.
See it if you’re aware of how competition differs for women; liked The Wolves (snapshot progression, understated aesthetic, artificial teen dialog)
Don't see it if you like the highs & lows that usually come w/ sports narratives, are put off by not-entirely-successful naturalism
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