Theater archives

I’m Pretty Fucked Up: It’s Not Easy Being Teen


‘This is so much fucking better than sitting in school,” says Isabel (Lauren Annunziata) after smoking a couple of bowls with her 15-year-old pals, Jared (Ben Hollandsworth) and Dan (Seth Clayton), who play hookup as well as hooky with her as they all careen around New Mexico in a car reeking of reefer. Oasis and Bob Dylan blast from the dashboard. Taco Bell meals are consumed. Wary but raw adolescent confessions are made. Meanwhile, back at school, their cohorts wait under desks in lockdown while a security guard with PTSD (Danny Wolohan) wanders the halls dealing with his rage issues.

I’m Pretty Fucked Up, a new play by Ariel Stess, continues Clubbed Thumb’s annual Summerworks series with a warmhearted look at adults’ and teens’ shared struggle to get by emotionally. Stess goes for social satire at the expense of narrative development but gets decent mileage out of the road scenes, in part because the truant trio is so well-played. Her drama tries to make a virtue of inconsequence, showing that grown-ups worry too much and innocence wins out even in complicated times: It’s all good. But those lackadaisical qualities can’t cover the script’s deficiencies. In Kip Fagan’s stop-and-go production, the story meanders, and it can be hard to see why it needs a live stage when everything looks and feels so much like TV.