LUCKIEST KID (White Pines): 60-second review

white pines productions luckiest kid review

Martha Lee Kemper and Fleece in LUCKIEST KID. Photo by Sarah R. Bloom.

Philly-based playwright Martha Kemper’s memoir-based LUCKIEST KID is an achievement just this side of brilliant. Playing the protagonist and main speaker in a story of a high-school girl who sleeps with her idolized drama teacher, Kemper balances this heady, personal emotionality by exploring the joy and relief brought by the brief affair, keeping the play from becoming unpleasant. Using Greek structures and themes to explore crime and culpability, she effectively contrasts our immediate judgments against the high school teacher with feeling portrayals of the human genius and weakness present in the character.

The production is at its most powerful when it is developing the main conflicts: the sickness of her mother, the relationship between the students and Jane, and the relationship between the narrator and her own sexuality; but goes off on tangents, such as multiple long scenes about how much fun drama club was, which delay the development of the plot. This slight confusion comes to fruition in the final twenty minutes, which offers three or four different conclusions, any of which would have been suitable alone, but which together threaten to weary an audience. For the gorgeous script and topical subject matter, I’m happy to forgive these shortcomings. On a recent week night, the audience received the play enthusiastically, standing and shouting “Brava!” October 2-19, 2013, whitepinesproductions.org.

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About the author

Julius Ferraro

Julius Ferraro is a journalist, playwright, performer, and project manager in Philadelphia. He is co-founder of Curate This and editor-in-chief of thINKingDANCE. His recent plays include Parrot Talk, Micromania, and The Death and Painful Dismemberment of Paul W. Auster.