'Real' college girls' problems central to playwright's work

College stereotypes come to life as the real girls go head-to-head with the copy girls in the new stage comedy Real Girls Can't Win!

Ohio University graduate playwright Merri Biechler's Real Girls examines technology, body image and popularity in an unnamed college as the election of a Miss Freshman B Dorm, a position that comes with popularity and power, draws closer. The play is set to contemporary female pop music that complements the all-female cast of OU undergraduate theater students.

In the play, Dakota Evans ' played by sophomore Katie Skelton ' is vying for the position against real girl Katie Rogers, played by sophomore Emily Ryan. Katie doesn't have a clique and is trying to find her place at college, but Dakota is a designer clothes-buying, tanning-crazy copy girl.

Katie discovers that being a copy girl isn't as effortless as it seems as she grows closer to Dakota over the course of the show.

Unfortunately, their friendship does not last.

Biechler wrote the play with the young actresses at Ohio University in mind, interviewing female OU students before writing. Although the play takes place at an unnamed college, the initial idea came from a Rolling Stone article about the alcohol-fueled party culture at Duke University, Biechler said.

I thought to leave here and not write a play for young women would be a waste

she said.

In Real Girls, college students' dependence on technology and risk of cultural seduction also is tackled with a humorous edge, said director Shelley Delaney. Girls in the show use an online networking site called MyFace to post rumors and plan events.

People make promises online that no one keeps in person

Ryan said. It's a pretty accurate parallel to what actually happens on a college campus.<br /><br />Because of the limited set pieces and small space, the actors move their own props and arrange the set, Ryan said. The minimal set pieces are complemented by two projectors that feature media clips of the actresses. <br /><br />One clip shows Dakota and her best friend Montana doing body shots.<br /><br />Montana mistakes women objectifying themselves for feminism
said Kathryn Primeau, who plays Montana. Montana thinks
'I'm hot
I can do what I want.'<br /><br /><i>Real Girls Can't Win!</i> is the featured new play in the 2007 Seabury Quinn Jr. Playwrights Festival. The festival features the works of nine playwrights from the 2006-07 academic year. The festival runs May 23 to 26.
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