I’ve been describing “Bachelorette” as a raunchier “Bridesmaids” to pretty much everyone who’s asked me about it. In actuality, I should just tell them to go see it for themselves.
This rendition of Leslye Headland’s “Bachelorette” was directed by Rashaad Bond. It’s set to run from March 1 to March 10 at the Experimental “X” theater. Headland’s dark comedy of three seemingly shallow women struggling to cope with the anxieties of adulthood was turned into a movie in 2012.
The show is being put on by SCRAP Productions, a student organization, as well as the University of New Mexico Department of Theater and Dance.
Regan (played by Kristine Padilla) is invited to be Becky’s (Monica Villalba) maid-of-honor. Regan, stuck in a dead-end job and addicted to every pill under the sun, invites her “friends” Katie (Rebecca Ulbricht) and Gena (Bridey Caramagno) to a night of drinking and loathing in Becky’s room. Things slowly start to turn against the women, all in their mid-to-late 20s, when they rip Becky’s wedding dress.
Meanwhile, Becky is set to marry a rich guy that actually loves her, to the shock of her other three friends.
Some of the more bougie theatergoers might be turned off by the X theater’s space. On opening night, a random person wandered into the theater mid-play asking about the bathroom in a loud voice, but the cast kept going unfazed by the interruption.
The cast, by the way, was pretty damn good. The stand-out performance for me was Rebecca Ulbricht as Katie. The ditsy, suicidal friend struggles with her desire to be desired as she lurches into her 30s, still working in retail.
Ulbricht nails the intersection in her scene with Joe (Alex Kuehn), a weed addict and sweet guy with a genuine interest in Katie as a person.
What makes the Bachelorette fun to watch and impressive to see are its tense final scenes. Headland’s script has a lot of potential pitfalls that a poor cast and crew might find themselves exploiting in hopes of a few easy gags and cringes.
From the near-naked moments, poop jokes and sex scenes, a less talented group would be blinded by those distractions and potentially botch the interesting (and frankly really relevant) themes of “Bachelorette.” But not this group.
The shallow characters we meet at the onset have been shown to be tragic, even pitiful humans giving the final scene a ton of weight that leaves the audience with an emotional hangover.
However, the play did have a really slow start. Regan, Katie and Gena open by hurling quips and one-liners at each other. It had me thinking "this might be trash." The dialogue here was basic and there wasn’t much to care about.
I really didn’t lose that fear until Joe and Jeff (Noah Solomon) entered the play, and the story became more complicated. I am willing to give the production the benefit of the doubt for this.
When Becky the bride makes her entrance in the last third of the play, I was completely engaged, wondering how it was going to shake out. Ultimately, the cast had shown the other three women as complicated people. They had worked for that ending.
Yet, I can’t imagine Bond wants his audience to feel like they’re watching an episode of Jersey Shore or Jerry Springer, instead of an (eventually) engaging and emotionally complicated show. I’m not sure how they might fix this, but I trust that they will, so much so that I’ll be seeing the show at least one more time.
Justin Garcia is a staff reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers student government. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Just516garc.