The play opens with Boo (Shannon Duncan-Brewster) and Marie (Amelia Lowdell), our two yard gals--or yard gal wanna-bees--bursting onstage in slick track pants and hysterical laughter. (The phrase "yard gal", according to the program glossary, refers to the girlfriend of a drug dealer.) Boo and Marie announce that they are going to do a play, and after some hemming and hawing, begin their story, a seamless blend of narration and re-enactment, peppered with witty imitations. They tell about their first encounter with one another, which started with a fist fight and led to their becoming "best friends from time"; about the girls in their posse; and about events that, despite the girls' upbeat prose, you dread.
The girls' friendship is intricate, complex, and utterly true to life. For one thing, it's hard to pin down just who has the clout. Boo interrupts the initial laughter the play's opening moments to snarl at Marie, "What you lookin' at me for?" Yet Boo has a soft spot for Marie--at one point she relates lovingly how when Marie's shooting-up gives her fits, she has to make space on the dance floor to hold Marie in her lap. Boo adds wistfully as she describes the scene, "But she didn't have a fit that night." The care she takes for Marie, that night and others, is emblematic of the pattern of friend-loyalty and gang-vengeance that ultimately spells disastrous for the two.
Throughout the play, however, the question nags: Who are they telling this to, and why? No concrete answer is offered, but a hint is suggested. Toward the end of the play, when the girls are separated, Boo throws a detail into the narrative and Marie looks up in surprise. "You didn't tell me that," she says. It then dawns that telling the story is the girls' way of connecting with each other. They're telling it as the selves they were with each other, as their best selves, and to the one person, of the billions, who understands. For 90 minutes, they get to be with that person.
When the lights go down, however, the audience is left with the agonizing truth that, outside of these shimmering moments in told to a black-box of the mind, Boo and Marie never get to be those best selves again. And we see their disintegration. Where the girls once communicated in an effortless, pick-up-where-you-left-off-last-night banter (which Prichard carries off brilliantly), toward the end they must resort in their discomfort to the ho-hum adult "How are you doing?" It is painful.