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School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play
April 29-May 8, 2022
at MATCH (Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston)
By: Jocelyn Bioh

School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play is a contemporary play written by Jocelyn Bioh, who is of Ghanaian-American descent. The production focuses on Paulina, the reigning queen bee at Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school in 1986, who has her sights set on the Miss Global Universe pageant. But the arrival of Ericka, a new student with undeniable talent and beauty, captures the attention of the pageant recruiter—and Paulina’s hive-minded friends. This buoyant and biting comedy explores the universal similarities (and glaring differences) facing teenage girls across the globe.


Throughout School Girls, the audience is taken on a journey that looks closely at classism, racism, and colorism. Playwright Jocelyn Bioh achieves this through moments of drama, sincerity, comedy, and laughter – all with a little Whitney Houston thrown in. The show’s original director, Tony-winner Rebecca Taichman, says the play "smashes up this real comic point of view with profound sadness and anger. But it’s lifted through this comic impulse. Always."

Jocelyn Bioh explains in a note in the script that, “In 2011, the Miss Ghana pageant officials, in an attempt to become the first West African country to have a viable and perhaps winning contestant in the Miss Universe Pageant, named Yayra Erica Nego (an American-born and Minnesota-raised biracial woman) the winner of the Miss Ghana pageant.” She continues to explain that officials of the contest claimed her father was from an obscure area of Ghana, never giving his name or his whereabouts. She beat out two of Ghana’s most famous models for the title, but did not place in the Miss Universe pageant. As Bioh says in the note, “I thought that was pretty damn interesting… So I wrote a play about it.”

Cast

Tara Okopie

Paulina Sarpong

Rachel Omotoso

Gifty

Andrea Riles

Ericka Boafo

Cynthia Thomas-Calhoun

Mercy

Ansonia E. Jones

Ama

Agnes "Aggie B" Balka

Headmistress Francis

Jaelyn Merchant

Nana

Tamara Brown

Eloise Amponsah

Production Team

RaMina Mirmortazavi

Director

YaYa Smith

Costume Design

Logan Vaden

Founding Artistic Director/

Production Manager

Edgar Guajardo

Lighting and Sound Design

Fernanda Garcia

Stage Manager

Pin Lim

Photography

Nicholas White

Set Design

Brent Cooper

Sound Board Operator

PRESS AND REVIEWS

School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play was presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.