Photo by Duston Todd
Imagine meeting a new friend because you were paired up to compete against one another. This is what happens to seventeen-year-olds, Athena and Mary Wallace, in Athena, written by Gracie Gardner and directed by Kathryn MacMillan. Of course, with any sporting match, someone or some team has to win. Here, it’s fencing. What would you do? Risk the end goal- to win it all at the National Fencing Championship- and choose friendship over a game? What if that game could determine your entire future? Now what’s more important?
Athena (not her real name, which she keeps a mystery) has top-notch fencing equipment, a carefree life in New York City, and a private school education. Mary Wallace follows the rules, lives in the suburbs with her family, and scores her fencing pieces secondhand. Yet, when the two are matched, they quickly learn that they both desire what the other one has…and really, they just want to be friends.
These teenagers have more in common than they think. Campbell O’Hare (as Mary Wallace) and Kira Player (as Athena) remind the audience what it’s like to be in high school- the need to fit in, the pressures of school work and extracurricular activities, the fear of letting their grades or scores slip. Through their dialogue and actions, we can resonate with both characters and everything they’re going through as they come face to face in an intense fencing match that will change the course of their lives. The non-stop action here will leave you holding your breath as you root for both of them. But who ends up taking it all? Will the friendship survive?
Athena is a 90 minute show which highlights great character devolvement and the ability to pack in a well-rounded story in a short amount of time. The plot, like the fencing match, is sharp and quick. You won’t be able to take your eyes off the stage!
The regional premiere of Athena runs through June 5th at Theatre Horizon in Norristown and tickets are available here.