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An Education for the Teacher in ‘Roses’

“The Ramona Roses” are the girls at Ramona High School--more exactly the girls who educate Janet Borrus in East L.A. life. In this one-woman show at Theatre of Note, Borrus introduces us to her girls, but so superficial is her presentation that we never really know them as anything more than clever one-liners zipping through the air.

As a P.E. teacher who doesn’t quite know how to play softball or volleyball and must also teach a course in leadership, Borrus recounts her one year of fumbling around. Under Lee Costello’s direction, Borrus’ characterizations of six girls are well-defined and her jokes are well-timed (“I’m gonna have a baby, Miss. I’m 15 months pregnant. You just can’t tell cause I do sit-ups”), but Borrus hasn’t shaped the material into a cohesive, interesting package. Following chronological order without intriguing psychological or emotional development is hardly a good plot device.

Otherwise, it’s hard to tell what’s more frightening social commentary: teenage mothers getting condoms from their gym teacher or the thought of inexperienced and unprepared teachers floating around in the public educational system.

* “The Ramona Roses,” Theatre of Note, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. Fridays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Ends March 1. $10. (Benefit for Ramona High School, Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m., $12). (213) 856-8611.

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