“Diary of a Catholic School Drop Out” is a dreary look at Catholic school girls thinking they have a reason to commit suicide. Written by Layon Gray and directed by Jimmi Jones, it features eight nondescript girls all dressed the same (white blouses, short blue shirts with long stockings). Their opening dance is well-choreographed.
All the girls are in pain as they talk to their diary. “Dear Diary, forgive me for I’m about to sin, and this is a good day to die.” In a series of monologues, one bemoans the loss of love in her life; she loves but no one loves her back. Another girl is ostracized by the group for being chubby and suffers from verbal abuse.
One scene has the versatile Melissa Gratia dressed in a man’s overcoat appearing after a ten-year absence wanting to marry one of the girls who it turns out had sexually molested her at eight.
Gratia, named “Enlightenment,” is more like the Devil incarnate as in the same overcoat she re-enacts a disturbing rape scene with a girl she tries to kill. Her malicious energy is a standout. Later as a nurse, she brings out a tray of poisoned cups for the girls to drink. As they lie there, they sing: “Over my head I hear music in the air there must be a God somewhere.” Another standout is Alex Santori who has presence in spite of inscrutable dialogue. At least this torture is over in one hour and 10 minutes.
“Diary of a Catholic School Drop Out” is at the Avery Schreiber Theater (11050 Magnolia Blvd.). Performances are Sundays at 5pm, closing September 27. Tickets are $12 online at layongray.ticketleap.com or $20 at the door. For more information or reservations, call (310) 721-1732.