Manic Pixie Dream Girl
An ingénue, with neither agency nor personality, merely a cipher for the damaged/lovesick/resentful male protagonist, usually to unlock something profound about himself. An overused trope in pop culture. Think Penny from early Big Bang Theory, Summer from 500 Days Of, or even, all the way back, to Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
We join Nessa and Carly at the comic store café, knocking back advances from their “nice guy” co-workers and customers, as if it was a Scott Pilgrim-like video game. And then Morgana walks in. Perfect, perfect, pixie Morgana. Of course she’s in a band.
Over the course of the next hour, all three main characters exhibit manic dream girl traits, there is no monopoly on the cliché.
From the effortlessly cool, to the nervous tic geekiness, to even the choice of musical accompaniment.
Female relationships turn out to be front and centre of the story, as the friendships continually shift and realign. The male, secondary, parts grate less and become quieter, more incidental, as time progresses.
No one turns out to be the absolute hero, nor is anyone 100% the villain.
The performers are committed, and inhabit their characters completely.
From the “I’m being nice because it’s my literal job” customer service smiles and compliments, to the awkwardness, jealousy, and possessiveness of new bonds, to trying new things, and failing, and kicking oneself, it is all believable.
That universal fear of being replaced by someone more hip and cool. The eternal search for perfection, or at least the perfect airbrushed filter. The incrementalism of what seems perfectly valid to start, becoming weirder and more insane the further down the track one goes. Attempting to own mistakes made. Lots of apologies.
This performance is cute. It’s passionate. It’s intense. And raw. When actors are enthusiastic and in love with a script, you can tell. A lovely intimate piece, in a lovely intimate setting.