Lexi Howard and her stage manager in the theater

Euphoria: Lexi Howard’s Play Was Glorious Chaos

Give Lexi Howard her Tony.

Euphoria’s season 2, episode 7 was the payoff of two seasons of Lexi Howard (Maude Apatow) putting everyone else first—and she held nothing back. The play was honest, raw, and very obviously about everyone in her life, even if she changed some names, but the play was also pure chaos (and way over budget for a high school production). As a former theatre kid, if we had this budget for a show that a student came up with? Game changing.

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The play itself was a look into Lexi’s view of things and her own struggle to be the main character in her own world. She explored her insecurities and unpacked what it means to be Cassie’s (Sydney Sweeney) sister, but what was so chaotic about the play as a whole was the fact that Lexi held nothing back.

So let’s break down what worked with Lexi’s play and what didn’t. (Spoiler alert: The majority of it worked. I just have some questions.)

The staging made no sense

One of my biggest complaints, as a theatre kid, was that the show itself was staged in a way that would have left the audience staring at backs the entire time or not seeing something of importance. Right out of the gate, Lexi takes pills from Rue (or Jade, in the play) and hides them, but it is so subtle that there is no way the audience past the first row saw it.

I’m well aware that this an avant garde way of exploring Lexi’s story, and it goes back and forth between the reality these characters are living in and Lexi’s own play, but still. There are moments that are clearly in the staged production that would have left me asking what the hell was happening. Honestly, where is THAT audience member on the show? Just the one guy who has no idea who these characters are supposed to be, just like, “Wait what are they doing on a roof? Who is that man supposed to be? Why is the one kid playing 20 characters?”

Lexi’s time to shine

What really worked about the staged production was that it gave Lexi the reins and let her tell her story, however stylized it was. If it wasn’t Cassie’s show in her at home life, it was her parents. If it wasn’t Rue (Zendaya) struggling with her addiction, it was some other friend needing help. It was never about Lexi, and she didn’t really make that a thing. She didn’t scream at people that it wasn’t about her, but it was clearly hurting her, and we saw it through her play.

“I feel like I’ve lived most of my life in my imagination, taking the smallest moments and dreaming them up into something bigger,” Lexi narrates. “A little exchange and I fall in love, a moment to myself and I’m on stage, but reality always finds a way of pulling me back.” And the reality is that Lexi was always the observer and no one saw her as the main character. So she put herself as the main character. She centered the story on herself and it is telling, to me at least, why Rue is somehow the only one who doesn’t seem angry and understands where Lexi is coming from.

Rue is sitting in the audience and understands Lexi’s pain that she helped cause. She knows how Lexi has been there for her, and if anyone really had the right to be mad about the play, it was Rue, since Lexi used her father’s death as a plot device. But Rue didn’t seem to be upset with her friend exploring her own pain. In fact, everyone who should be mad at Lexi wasn’t. Her mother was having fun, crying, and understood why Lexi told this story. Maddy was cheering her own. Kat was happy. The only one angry was the one who caused Lexi the most pain, and that is her sister, Cassie.

Frankly, I’m proud of Lexi. She shared her story and she didn’t hold anything back, and she made herself the main character over everyone else and their lives. She constantly recognized that everyone else had their own issues going on, but so did Lexi, and this was her way of exploring the pain of always being second to Cassie, her father leaving them, Rue using her, and no one really caring about what was happening to her, and I cannot wait to see where the rest of this play takes us.

(image: HBO)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.