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  • Writer's pictureBen Kemper

The Daggy Kids

Or: “This is our youth(s)”


Pippa (Alison Mahoney) and her partner Sandy (Zoe Maltby) are typical twertysomethings: vibrant, intelligent, chasing their dreams but often confused, closed in and isolated from the world. After a disastrous getting-to-know-you dinner with Pippa’s fundamentalist christian parents Sandy begins to question her “faith” in her atheism; if her modish and nitpicky life is a proper way of communing in the world. She decides to form a collective of likeminded persons; atheists who feel the need for a church community and creates the Daggy Kids (from the australian slang for uncool, or eccentric) a g-dless church which proves successful beyond her wildest dreams. But while Sandy is finding a purpose Pippa feels more and more isolated as she chases the words of her newest story and the rapidly unraveling ends of her own life.


Based upon the founding and mission of the real-life Sunday Assembly (“It’s all the best bits of church but with no religion and awesome pop songs!”) Anne Berkowitz has created a grounded and welcomingly thorough exploration of atheism as a faith and the standard state of this frantic and frenetic generation. In the beginning her conversations seem inclined at times toward being mere vessels for philosophical debate, but the debates themselves are never preachy and are issued from real people arguing their beliefs. By the end both the Daggy sermons, Pippa’s reweaving of her story, and the genuine questions of how to “live better, help often, and wonder more” are indistinguishable from the lives of two lovers whose romance is going cold and those who rely upon them. Unlike so many other playwrights too, she does not drive at capturing the zeitgeist of “kids today” preferring to tackle the issues of thought and let the broad societal fears and questions come creeping up around her to peck out of her hand.


She is helped in this very realistic goal by her two splendid leads. Mahoney’s Pippa is a reserved and rational creature never painting on her emotional and existential distress. Like so many of us, Mahoney masks her despair, the nothingness she feels, with sharp wit and ingenious disaffection, letting her troubles seeps from her, never pumped. Maltby’s Sandy covers the flip side of her generation, the boundless sloshing energy to change the world and make herself a beacon of hope for the past and future, wavering in the buffeting winds of dissension and dismay. Maltby loves the details, the interior workings of her mind: she never steals focus but is an anchoring presence. Watching her performance one never says, ‘ah yes, that’s exactly what a twertysomething comedian would do.” because one is too busy watching Sandy. Assisted by the versatile and minutia loving ensemble of Brittany Blum and Ari Shapiro, Berkowitz lays her fingers on the pulse of the times and gives her audience a chance to see their bitter truths and greater hopes created on stage.

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