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.
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”.
Now running through November 18