When one thinks of musical theater inspired by great literature, Lord of the Flies is probably the last thing that comes to mind. But The House Theatre, known for its innovative genre-bending and vibrant storytelling, is certainly not one to balk at the challenge. This time, the House teamed up with the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University for a developmental production of a pop-punk musical, "Girls VS Boys," penned as "a modern-day Lord of the Flies that examines the human hunger for connection and challenges the storybook ideal of love."
Set in an amplified world of adolescent angst, "Girls vs. Boys" follows a brother and sister as they struggle to make sense of their new surroundings. The game of love becomes a battle of the sexes, as well as a battle of the self. An interesting take on teenage heartbreak has high-strung emotions played out through interpretive dance and literal violence, a dynamic approach to such well-worn images as being shot through the heart.
On working with The House's Nathan Allen, who, in addition to directing "Girls vs. Boys," also taught a master course in Theatrical Storytelling at Northwestern, AMTP's David Bell had this to say: "The entire department was set afire by the complex and challenging issues exploredů. To many of the students enrolled, Nathan's class was the single most productive and exciting class that they had ever taken."
It's not every day that undergrads get to learn tips and tricks from critically-acclaimed theater companies like The House. Such collaboration fits in well with one of AMTP's tasks to develop "adventurous new musicals that expand the boundaries of the form."
After an all-student cast at Northwestern performs "Girls vs. Boys," which runs until August 2 at Evanston's Wallis Theater, Allen and The House Theatre plan on unleashing a professional world premiere of the musical during their spring season.