“Boadecia” (pronounced bo-da-see-ya) is not only a lot of fun, but in fact the best production the Mills theater department has delivered in a long time.
Writer and director John Fisher has given the college a gift with “Boadecia,” which spoofs women’s colleges in general, Mills College specifically, homo-hetero relations, SoCal-NorCal relations, college theater, the television industry, feminism and the Catholic church all in two hours.
Fisher, who holds a Ph.D. in dramatic arts from U.C. Berkeley, and is currently a playwrighting instructor there, wrote “Boadecia,” a play within a play, for Mills specifically. He also stars in the show as the director, and is hilariously duped and deceived by the ambitious, back stabbing actresses in his show.
Fisher is remarkably perceptive in his satire of a “mythical women’s college in Oakland.” He captured the spirit and the humor of the college community to a tee, with oddball one-liners, and ridiculous song and dance numbers which mock the hallowed, sacred traditions of campy amateur musical theater-think “Waiting for Guffman.”
While some Mills women would be loathe to admit that we are anything but “Strong women, proud women,” Fisher has tapped into the underground of Mills culture and
society-the stuff the admissions office would never include in their recruitment brochures-to hilarious ends.
The theater department has found a real gem in freshwoman Sarah Weinstein, who played soap star and “moosh” fetishist Wonder Fey. Weinstein is the only member of the cast with a true belt, a voice big enough to fill the large and mostly vacant Lisser Hall. Though some of her songs seem a little too low for her voice, she manages with a great deal chutzpah, sass and a sparkling stage presence. She is a very talented leading
lady and she carries the show with energy and humor.
Seniors Shaye Troha and Katy Coe are both sublimely cast. Troha’s role as Gizelle, (affectionately known as Giz) the scheming sorority sister-cum-closeted lesbian-cum-aspiring actress is part a modern Eve Harrington and part a singing Anne “Celestia” Heche, post break-up with Ellen.
Coe, as the snarling, sneering, lecherous Gelda, is wildly and exuberantly over-the-top-her black spandex-clad modern dance is one of the show’s best visual gags.
Junior Maryssa Wanlass, who we haven’t seen since her performances in the Mills College Players productions, is totally titillating as the leader of the pack at the Truck Stop, a dyke bar of ill repute. Allison Smith, as the demented, morality obsessed Archbishop in drag, displays both versatility and a towering comedic talent as she pokes fun at high school theater productions and the currently besieged Catholic church.
Other standout performances include Mielle Sullivan’s hysterical man-starved sorority sister and senior Eliza Riley, who employs her metallic red scooter to manic comic effect as she runs over toes and creates general hysteria among the cast.
There is never a quiet moment in “Boadecia,” as one joke after another sends ripples of uncontained laughter through the audience. Go see it to support Mills College theater, which has recently experienced major budget cutbacks, and to have the best laugh you’ve had in a long time.