Play sends a strong message

Girls Like That, at back, from left, Geena Drabble, Jemma Davidson, middle left, Paballo Mphepya, Tyra-Lee Penney and, in front, Hannah Gonera as Scarlett.

Herschel Girls’ High School in Claremont will be raising important feminist topics in their staging of Girls Like That, which starts on Tuesday March 3.

This play is an adaptation of the work by Evan Placey and tells of what happens after a naked picture of the character, Scarlett, portrayed by Grade 12 pupil Hannah Gonera, goes viral.

Scarlett is body-shamed, alienated from friends, becomes a victim of cyber bullying and is subject to vicious rumours by the girls that go to her school.

The play’s director and Head of Drama at Herschel Girls’, Sarah McArthur says the play shows the impact of how the girls who know the lead character for years treat her as an outcast and bully her when the picture goes viral. “We hear about cyber bullying happening, and telling it through drama makes us realise how human a problem this is,” she said.

The play features a cast of 42 Herschel pupils from Grades 9 to 12, who have been rehearsing for the past two months.

Grade 12 pupil Geena Drabble, who plays an ensemble character, says this play raises important topics to talk about.

“We only really talk about matters like this when things happen in the moment and what happens
to Scarlett is not as uncommon as it seems,” she said.

Grade 10 pupil Phiwo Mrabula, who plays an ensemble character wearing aviator headgear and goggles, says this play also looks at how different generations interact with these kinds of matters.

“Different age groups may say that we don’t understand the topic, though when these feminism issues are raised by any specific age group it matters and must be paid attention to,” she said.

Grade 12 pupil Jenna Venter also deals with hard hitting feminist issues when her character, a lawyer, is sexually harassed by her boss.

“My character is in a law firm and the boss is supposed to know the law and she questions whether men in power feel they have a right to abuse it,” she said.

Grade 12 pupil Quaanita Triegaart plays a chorus girl that goes to the school. “This play addresses important feminine issues and, most importantly, will address the audience who comes to see it and it will also share the message that girls can also be cruel towards one another.”

Ms McArthur says even though the play touches on a serious topic, there is some humour, dancing and contemporary music.

Girls Like That runs at Herschel Girls from Tuesday March 3 to Friday March 6 at 7.30pm. Tickets cost R100 and can be booked through Quicket.