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Tough!

Two teenage girls scream at a hapless guy for being a typical boy

Last week ("The High Road," Feb. 7) I suggested Road to Mecca was the best show in Berkeley, but that was before I saw Tough!. This slice-of-life script about two teenage girls (or young women) screaming at a hapless guy for being a typical boy moves like a hell-bound train, at least in this Aurora Theater Company version. Bobby is Tina's boyfriend. He felt up some girl at Jill's party, and Jill saw. Now Jill and Tina are letting Bobby have it with all the outrage of brokenhearted adolescence. "Killed by love!" says Tina. "Run over and flattened by love ... I just wanna be sad. Can't I just be sad here?" Bobby finally admits he's a schmuck, and Jill announces that Tina's pregnant. Wham-bam. While Bobby digests this news the two girls call him an idiot and a coward. At one point Bobby grabs Tina around the waist, and Jill misinterprets. "You don't hit pregnant girls!" she shouts. "You don't hit girls period!" as she hits him. A sticker on the park table says Girls Kick Ass.

Amanda Duarte does an excellent job as Tina, grief-wracked but still in love with Bobby; she rises to moving heights in every speech. Danny Wolohan is perfect as a young male ego under heavy fire, with a beautifully harrowed, whiny edge on his voice. Maria Candelaria is fervid but sometimes strained as Jill, who has less to be upset about but yells at Bobby anyway. The script is truncated, and falters near the end; it's possible that George F. Walker has not thought his characters through. Tough! is not Road to Mecca, as a script -- but as a performance it may be the best show in Berkeley right now.

 
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