Black woman standing with paper in hand, delivering a speech. Behind her are walls covered with dead vines and suitcases.
Deanna Reed-Foster in Wellesley Girl with Compass Theatre Credit: Joe Mazza/Bravelux

If you think Congress is inept in a crisis now, just wait till you see what 2465 has in store! In Brendan Pelsue’s dystopian dramedy, Wellesley Girl, the U.S. has been reduced to three (or maybe four, if you count abandoned Wellesley) towns in Massachusetts—the only places on the eastern seaboard where, thanks to MIT scientists, the water is safe to drink. The population is so small that everyone is a member of Congress, though the Supreme Court is now just Donna (Deanna Reed-Foster), the only lawyer around. 

Wellesley Girl
Through 2/5: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2 PM, Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, compasstheatre.org, $40 ($35 seniors and students).

When a military force shows up outside the walls, the resident legislators have to decide if they’ll send an emissary for peace. Since the alien force is from the “Theocratic Yurt Village of Texas,” the diplomatic overtures don’t go over so well, and with the urging of bellicose Scott (Todd Wojcik), who tells them “An angry crowd is an honest crowd,” they move to a scorched-earth response. But Marie (Allyce Torres), who survived the poisoned water in Wellesley as a child, doesn’t want to bring her own kids into the uncertainty of the wilderness, and files for a stay of the counterattack. Which puts Reed-Foster’s Donna on the hot seat, trying to decide if preserving the rule of law underpinning the nation/community is more important than preserving the community itself. 

Her performance is the best element in this Compass Theatre staging by James Fleming, which never quite finds the balance between political satire and despair. The production feels static early on, and really only gains a sense of anguish and danger once Reed-Foster is introduced (though Wojcik does an admirable job channeling Angry White Man energy). There are moments of poignancy and sharp-elbowed wit, but overall the tone is too inchoate to sustain the stakes of the story.