Silence makes me think of Silence Dogood, who I learned of from National Treasure. It was a pseudonym a young (like, 16 young) Ben Franklin concocted to write into his...brother's...newspaper to express his views on popular culture and politics ect.
The musings of a 16 year old colonial white male apprentice printer, are hardly to be considered worthwhile, and yet Silence spoke with such veracity, she received marriage proposals.
In Naomi Wallace's jarring sketch, we are presented with a reverberation of that tenacity. Two young women, Dee and Jamie, minor offenders locked up in what has become the generationallly, perpetual gray area of adolescence. High School Musical meets Orange is the New Black, this isn't, however. We are also granted glimpses into the lives of the, now, women nine years on - post incarceration.
It's 1959, as Older Jamie actress Rachel Nicks points out...in some nondescript corner of the semi-rural American south. Not a good time or place to be a woman, where old world wealth and status standards still reign. Not a good time or place in history for African Americans, where walking down the street to work means verbal abuse on a good day.
The setting and all of it's trappings create a sort of perfect storm for Wallace's two characters. With a steely undercurrent of the violability of their sexualities and the vulnerability of intimacy, Wallace has Jamie and Dee traverse the crossroads of what it means to be young, broke, and drowning in surroundings suffering the same fate. By the play's tragic end we're left with a Willy Loman sense of remorse, except they don't even get the faithful spouse or regretful kids. A stark, nearly Shakespearean realization sets in, in death - no one will miss these girls.
Surely, no one missed them in life.