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Archive for Son of Semele


Mauricio Gomez

Mauricio Gomez

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

Maureen Huskey’s new one act play with music takes place wholly in the moment before death. Conceived as a 90 minute suspension of time in which Alice B. Sheldon (Betsy Moore) watches her life pass before her eyes, it blends music, movement, sound, and text to create as enigmatic a piece as the life of its central character. That’s not necessarily a good thing.

Huskey’s examination of the woman whose inner demons eventually got the better of her is a worthy one and imagining it as a departure from one of Tiptree’s sci-fi stories is an interesting way of presenting it. But the play meanders through Sheldon’s life as memories enacted by younger versions of herself (Isabella Ramacciotti at 6, Paula Rebello at 19) while a bewildered Moore looks on. It isn’t possible to discern if the purpose is for clarity, understanding, or simply to review a life that never let her forget she didn’t fit in. And with an ambitious array of performance disciplines employed to tell the story, which unfortunately often stretch beyond the wheelhouse of its ensemble, it loses its impact amid all the confusion.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Alice B. Sheldon was a Chicago debutante who was never completely comfortable in her body or her life. At the age of six, she was known as one of the first “little white girls” to explore Africa in the company of her authoress mother. After an early and disastrous marriage to an abusive drunk of a husband, she joined the WACS during WWII and rose to the rank of Major. After the war, with her second husband she joined the newly formed CIA. She earned a Ph.D. in experimental psychology and finally at the age of 50 she began writing science fiction, under the male pen name of James Tiptree, Jr. It wasn’t until a decade later that James was revealed to be Alice. It shocked both fans and reviewers of the genre, having them reexamine what was considered “male” writing as opposed to “female”.
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Now running through November 18


PLUNGE at Son of Semele

Photo by Son of Semele

Photo by Son of Semele

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

James Joyce in his A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man famously wrote, “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” That sentiment describes a lot of historical fiction, in which the sins of the past reverberate endlessly down decades or centuries into the present. Read more…

Now running through June 17

ARCHIPELAGO at Son of Semele

(Photo by Mainak Dhar)

(Photo by Mainak Dhar)

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Archipelago, Caridad Svinch spins a love story about a man and a woman from two different cultures, and sets it against a backdrop of war and apocalyptic upheaval. Director Barbara Kallir oversees an attractive and imaginative staging, but the vagueness of the play’s dramatic events and the absence of detail in the characters’ accounts of themselves make for an enervating narrative. Read more…

Now running through June 18

hey brother at Son of Semele Theatre

hey brother- 1

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Bekah Brunstetter’s newest play is about brothers: what it means to live with a sibling you’re not compatible with, and what it’s like to long for one who may not exist. Read more…

Now running through December 14.

WOMAN PARTS at Son of Semele Ensemble


Photo by Matthew McCray

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Son of Semele Ensemble has selected two startlingly different short plays for “Woman Parts,” a double bill planned, according to the program, as a corrective to the underrepresentation of women in the theater.

The first offering, “Sex & God,” by the Scottish playwright Linda McLean, weaves together melancholy monologues by four women from different periods of the 20th century: in 1905 (Betsy Moore), 1935 (Melina Bielefelt), 1965 (Sarah Rosenberg) and 1995 (Hilletje Bashew). These women tell their stories in alternating, impressionistic fragments (in dialects coached by Ruth Connell) that evoke four instruments in counterpoint.

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

It’s hard to imagine two more dissimilar plays than Linda McLean’s Sex and God and Sibyl O’Malley’s Lamentations of the Pelvis, which together make up a feminist themed double-header at Son of Semele Ensemble. Written and directed by women, they share a female focus but are otherwise as stylistically different as any two works can be.

Now running through May 19.

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