With Orange Is the New Black dominating the Internet airwaves this summer, stories of ladies in captivity are trendy right now. Monica Byrne’s play is a surprisingly affecting entry to that canon. In a Catholic reform school on the Lower East Side in 1914, four of the teenage inmates are basically having a never-ending sleepover—albeit under duress. As frustrated adolescent girls raised in the Church, they leap to the logical next step: building a cult around birth-control pioneer Margaret Sanger, and performing rituals around storytelling and masturbation. Their ecstatic religious episodes take the form of witchy writhing to Amanda Palmer music (like ya do). Danielle Beckman, Emma Meltzer and Maggie Raymond bring convincing levels of damaged exuberance to their characters; C.C. Kellogg never quite rises to the occasion; and though the dance breaks are gimmicky, Byrne has a keen ear for the teenage female voice. Like that other prison dramedy I mentioned, What Every Girl Should Know convincingly portrays how communities can be forged in even the direst of circumstances.—Jenna Scherer
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