In a world with obsessed beauty, the Los Medanos College drama department’s production of “Reasons to Be Pretty,” is able to educate its audience on the subject of self-image and the consequences of words, despite minor issues with the writing.
This show is the third and final installment in Neil LaBute’s trilogy, which is connected by the common theme of body image.
The play follows the life of a man named Greg (Austin Trenholm) who creates an argument between him and his girlfriend, Stephanie, (Katey Hilton) after he called her “average looking” while chatting with his best friend, Kent (Olinza Headd).
As he deals with the break up, he is able to learn the affects of words and grow as a character by unlearning his old sexist and shallow ways.
At the beginning of the show, some of the actors stumbled over their words and emphasized awkward portions of their dialogue, so it felt as though they were simply reciting lines rather than acting as their characters. However, as the show progressed, the actors seemed to settle into their roles and grow more comfortable on stage.
In an unscripted moment of the show, Trenholm mistakenly called Carly, Kent’s wife and Stephanie’s best friend (Rebekah Headd), by the wrong name. Instead of this appearing awkward, the actor was able quickly improvise and provide a logical explanation for why he would call her his ex-girlfriend’s name, as they were both in the middle of a heated argument.
One of my favorite parts of the show is its use of strong female characters, Stephanie and Carly. Both women show that although they are in relationships, they are able to stand up to their partners when they are in the wrong.
Additionally, the relationships in the show are realistic. While the show does not have a conventionally happy ending, it gives an ending that is able to satisfy both the characters and the audience.
Unfortunately, the downfall of the production is the writing itself. Its comedy relies on vulgarities that only garner cheap laughs. Although people were warned beforehand that there would be curse words in the show, it felt excessive and at times took away from the message of the story.
The way it was written included the cursing in a way that felt forced and uncomfortable rather than the way people would naturally speak.
Still, as a student-led production, it was able to show the departments expertise in their field.
Despite the minor faults in its writing, the cast and crew’s production of the show is able deliver an important message to its audience that needs to be discussed.