Miss Teen Explores What Happens After You Win a Beauty Pageant

A shy teenage girl unexpectedly enters, and wins, a beauty pageant. In turn, her single mother gets drawn into what happens next, what image a beauty queen is expected to project now that she has won her crown.

Canadian playwright Michele Riml (Sexy Laundry) didn’t have far to go to imagine the story in Miss Teen; when she was 15 – and also shy — she won a beauty pageant in her hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia. “I thought that the Miss Teen contest was an excellent metaphor for the mask or sort of facade that women often have to put on to survive in the world.”

Riml started writing plays when she was in high school, and she won the BC Young Playwright Search with her first play, Souvenirs. Her own experience with pageants, which she says had its fun parts, wasn't ultimately where she wanted to put her efforts, she says. "I don't like the waving and smiling."

Riml talked to Kenn McLaughlin, artistic director for Stages Repertory Theatre, about her ideas for the play two years ago, and about a year ago they did a workshop, and now McLaughlin is directing the world premiere.

The two-act play has parts for four women and is a mixture of drama and comedy, Riml says. “I feel like the play works particularly well in this culture of the American Dream and trying to have that at all costs.”

Performances of Miss Teen are scheduled for April 6 through May 1 at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. 3201 Allen Parkway. For information, call 713-527-0123 or visit stagestheatre.com. $21-$49.

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