The “Terrible Girls” take the stage


Emily Cipriano, Danira Stanojevic and Bryanna Lee rehearse for “The Terrible Girls.”

Story by Elizabeth Walztoni, Reporter
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Walztoni

The weather is cooling down and leaves are falling, which as we all know means one thing–it’s scary story season. A unique and easy way to get your fix this month is AQ Theater’s production of “The Terrible Girls.” Running from October 5-8 at the Performing Arts Center, it is a character-driven Southern gothic that plays with your heart and mind on the path to its thrilling conclusion. You won’t want to miss the chance to piece together this dark and engaging puzzle.

The show focuses on three waitresses: Birdie, Gretchen, and Minnie. They have been left in charge of their bar until the owner, Mr. Witherose, returns from a mysterious trip to Atlanta. Birdie, commanding and selectively religious, and Gretchen, wild and temperamental, clash in matters of love and friendship. Minnie, simple and loyal to a fault, remains devoted to the two and Mr. Witherose–”we’re a family, at least a little bit,” she says.

Appearances deceive, however. As the plot reaches its shocking conclusion, the pieces fall together until your jaw drops (as did that of this reporter). In the words of Emily Cipriano, who plays Birdie, “it’s definitely a show you want to see twice.” Unwinding the web of clues afterwards is half the fun of the experience, and Cipriano suggests counting the lies you hear on your second viewing. “The Terrible Girls” is an interactive adventure both during and after, and makes a great outing with friends–you’ll want someone to discuss it with afterwards.

Why else should you go? For one thing, the show presents a marked difference from past productions. First of all, “The Terrible Girls” is a contemporary play with adult content. As Bryanna Lee (Minnie) appreciates, “It was written while we were alive.”

A second distinguishing feature is the production’s intimacy. There are only three principal characters on stage, and these characters are what drive the play, according to its director Christine Iaderosa. By show’s end, viewers become emotionally invested in all three girls, and throughout, the dimensions of their personalities are discovered. It is a journey not just to the truth of the story but to the truth of each individual.

Another part of the appeal of “The Terrible Girls” is its accessibility. It runs 70 minutes with no intermission, a convenient break from homework that is about the length of two Netflix episodes. “If you like Shameless, you’ll like this show,” says Cipriano. Tickets are $6 for Aquinas students, but The Moose is carrying special themed drinks that take one dollar off of ticket price with purchase. Performances take place in the Aquinas College Performing Arts Center. Shows on October 5-7 will be at 8 p.m., and the October 8th matinee begins at 2 p.m.

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