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The new play showing the complexities of female friendship

The Girl With Glitter In Her Eye by OPIA Collective explores the nuances, revelations, and trauma that can come with friendship

By Niki Karia

Female friendship is often mis-portrayed in pop culture. You only need to watch the eponymous film Mean Girls or cult sitcom Sex And The City to get a sense of the cattiness and bitchiness that is associated with girl gangs who appear to spend the entirety of the their adolescence and twenties fighting over boys; comparing bust sizes and vying for the popularity of their peers. As entertaining as these iconic pop culture favourites are, I find them reductive and unrepresentative of the true complexity of female friendships. As someone who attended an all-girls school from the age of 4 to 18, and who has recently read Dolly Alderton’s book Everything I Know About Love, I can vouch for this.

I have female friends with whom I have been through extreme grief, sudden break-ups, house moves, bouts of herpes, and life-threatening stomach surgery. I have lived in different countries with friends, crashed a quad bike with my best friend on the backseat, and have recently moved into my first flat with said friend. Bigger milestones have been made with my female friends than with my boyfriend!

Courtesy of OPIA Collective

But it’s not all break-ups and mini-breaks. In my experience, female friendships are vast; they span distances and time, and can exist in very specific circumstances, but not survive in others. I have impressively maintained a 20-year long relationship with my best friend from primary school, but a year abroad in my third year at university saw my closest freshers friendships plummet into a dark abyss where we would only see each other at the occasional 21st birthday party of a mutual friend. I’ve been in relationships with women that have been obsessive, fleetingly seductive, dangerously competitive, and also ones that have broken both my heart and my trust. But we rarely see this labyrinthine quality depicted on screen or on stage.

OPIA Collective is a company of female and LGBTQIA+ artists whose strengths lie in various art forms such as filmmakers, writers, performers, poets, musicians, and dancers. We have a unique and shared goal to create multidisciplinary work that brings an authentic representation of the female and LGBTQ experience to stage. Our upcoming play The Girl With Glitter In Her Eye tells the story of a female friendship complicated by the revelation of trauma.

Courtesy of OPIA Collective

The Girl With Glitter In Her Eye is a play that truthfully shows the nuance of a female friendship between protagonists Helen and Phil. Despite appearing to be seemingly close pals, when one steals the other’s secret and exploits it for personal use, we watch the gnarled effects of a breach of trust wreak havoc as their friendship gradually deteriorates. It is a friendship debilitated by a lack of support for one another and driven by personal motives. While depicting a flawed friendship may seem like an unappealing artistic theme, it is a powerful appeal to modern women to unite, listen to one another, remove oneself from a self-absorbed online bubble, and an ever-timely reminder that trust is irreparable. It also happens to be written and directed by my newest gal pal cum ‘work-wife’ – a relationship that is uncharted territory for me but I’m excited for what this new-found female friendship may hold…

The Girl With Glitter In Her Eye is on at Bunker Theatre from 12th to 27th January 2020 (Sundays and Mondays only). Tickets are available at or call Box Office on 0207 234 0486.

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