March 26, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 93  

Front Page >> Arts & Entertainment > Story


> News
> Editorial & Opinions
> Arts & Entertainment
> Campus Life
> Sports


> Archives
> Search Archive:
> Browse By Date:

More Stuff

> Photo Gallery
> Comics
> Contests
> Links

Talk to Us

> About Us
> Submit Letter
> Volunteers
> Advertising
> Gazette Alumni Society


Frankie is mild, stereotypical

Starring and written by: Mary Ellen MacLean

By Jeff Zon
Gazette Staff

A presumably 40-year-old woman dressed in a silly, red ruffled dress and short messy hair, walks awkwardly into the spotlight.m The set (the term is used loosely) is comprised of a painted mural paper banner welcoming the class of 1982 to their high school reunion.

The woman walks up to the audience and greets them as though they were characters in attendance, then orders a drink, sips and makes a face. Some joke about drinking rye from a Styrofoam cup. Mild laughter.

MacLean is the one-woman cast of Frankie, a recent addition to the revival of The Grand Theatre’s UnderGrand Series. The series itself takes place in the McManus Studio Theatre. Looking around, there are approximately 50 women and three men in the audience.

The story of Frankie follows MacLean back to her high school gymnasium, in her high school town, with her high school friends — and foes. She recounts story by story, labouring to act out multiple people in a conversation. The kicker? She’s a lesbian.

At first, one might expect drama to ensue when lesbian walks into a room with old friends and has to present a wife instead of a husband to unsuspecting peers. Instead, she reveals she has been a lesbian since high school, and the stories she tells are about her love for another woman in her circle of friends. Frankie of course is the main character’s name, which she changes from Francine as she aspires to embrace her sexuality.

For a one-player show, MacLean lacks the intensity required to keep the audience’s interest. Stuttering from serious introspection to light comedy, the audience never really feels the humour.

Littered with ’70s and ’80s themed throwaway gags and potshots at gay male mannerisms, the play is unimaginative and dull. MacLean’s supported characters are acted with hollow stereotype and rarely come off as genuine. She even makes a high pitch catty voice for the gay man, and a low booming voice for her father, as if reading a story to a child.

Upon the conclusion of the 80-minute act, Frankie achieves closure with an old flame (her first female love) and finds her old best friend Joey arriving late after a flat tire delay. Just like there was hope for Frankie (the character), there is hope for Frankie (the show). Anyone over the age of 30 may be able to supplement the lacking story with nostalgia. Then again, there are always re-runs of Degrassi.

Frankie plays tonight and Saturday night at 8:00 p.m.. Tickets are $18 for general seating at the McManus Theatre. Call 672-8800, or visit



Arts & Entertainment Links

© 2003 The Gazette  
BluThng Productions