Tuesday, June 23, 2020

STATE VS NATASHA BANINA (2020): A (Zoom) Play About a Teen's Obsession with a Reporter

Here's the slightly misleading Story for State vs Natasha Banina from the Arlekin Players website:

In State vs Natasha Banina (based on Natasha’s Dream by Yaroslava Pulinovich), a girl tells the story of her life in a small-town orphanage, and her desire to be free; break out of her world. From the inside of a “ZOOM” court room, she will make twists and turns through her unique appeal to audiences as the jurors, letting them into her world where she dreams about love, family, acceptance, adjusting and her future. Ultimately the two worlds collide and you get to decide her fate.

But Maya Phillips, in her New York Times review, gives a much better summary of the play, which is about: "[...]  the testimony of Natasha Banina (Denisova), a Russian teenage orphan being tried for manslaughter [...] And here’s when things got bad, she tells us: When she met a journalist who took an interest in covering her hardships at the orphanage, she became infatuated with him, then obsessed, until she was driven to commit a crime of passion. At the end, the audience votes on her fate: guilty or not guilty?

The reporter interviewed 16-year-old Natasha after she, on a dare from another teen, jumped out of the third floor window of the orphanage. 

After Natasha meet the reporter, she referred to him as, "My throb". She shared that he made her heart go, "Boom. Boom. Boom." When she didn't see him for days, she exclaimed, "I'm dying! I want to see him so bad!" Later, when she went to visit the reporter at the paper, she opined, "God he's cute." And she watched him write, "Like a novelist's wife."

Although the reporter said, "Natasha, you have beautiful eyes." Natasha waited for him to kiss her, but assumed that he didn't because he was, "Afraid, I wasn't 18 yet."

In the end, the Zoom jury had to decide if Natasha was guilty or innocent of attempted manslaughter for what she did to the reporter's privileged companion whom Natasha referred to as, "Bitch. Bitch. Slut. [...] What right does she have to take him away from me?[...] I had him first!"

State vs Natasha Banina is New York Times Critics' Pick.

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