Young and naive, Girlie (Sandy Yu) has moved from her Philippines village to the city to train at a regional call center for a major American airline. Obsessed with the TV soap Dallas, Girlie fantasizes about moving there to live a dream life. But her single-minded pursuit and ultimate triumph have a price. Christopher Scott Murillo's simple set design of two long platforms flanked by projection screens effectively indicates both an airport runway and the tropical setting (Manila, which we don't learn until 30 minutes into the play). Playwright Boni B. Alvarez maintains a playful tone with flashes of melodrama in this bittersweet but brutally honest story, and the characters are endearing and well delineated. There are lots of laughs when Alvarez briefly amps up the office politics to resemble heated scenes from Dallas, with the mostly Filipino cast hilariously breaking out their best Texas accents and postures. The rest of the time they converse with a thick, sing-song accent (and snippets of Tagalog), which at times is difficult to decipher. Still, Jon Lawrence Rivera elicits great performances from his cast of six, orchestrating the shifting moods extremely well. Kennedy Kabasares is fun as competitive office mate Rodrigo and Anne Yatco shines as Girlie's best friend, but it's Yu who steals the show, despite her sometimes overly effusive performance. Playwrights' Arena at Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m. (except Nov. 18 & Dec. 2, 6 p.m.); through Dec. 9. (323) 644-1929, playwrightsarena.org.
Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.; Mon., Nov. 18, 6 p.m.; Mon., Nov. 25, 8 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 2, 6 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 9, 8 p.m. Starts: Nov. 16. Continues through Dec. 9, 2013
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