| THE GERTRUDE STEIN
AN EVENING CELEBRATING THE WRITING OF GERTRUDE STEIN
by Willard Manus
THE GERTRUDE STEIN PROJECT, AN EVENING CELEBRATING THE WRITING OF GERTRUDE STEIN is a short but provocative theatre piece assembled by Frederique Michel from various prose works by Stein, a writer who deconstructed language long before deconstruction became a contemporary rhetorical codeword. Michel, artistic director of the Aresis Ensemble, the avant-garde company resident at City Garage, set the project in Stein's Parisian salon. Charles A. Duncombe Jr.'s production design
beautifully evoked the 1920s by reproducing the fragmented, kaleidoscopic Cubistic paintings of Picasso, Matissee and Miro, and by having the six-person cast strut around in spiffy evening dress (except for one actress, the obligatory full-frontal nude of most of Michel's productions). An onstage flutist (Irene Casarez) underscored the highly stylized movements of the actors (Ford Austin, Maureen Byrnes, David E. Frank, Katharina Lejona, Jed Low, Kathryn Sheer), who had to speak Stein's tongue-twisting, repetitive words while in non-stop motion. The total effect was sometimes puzzling, sometimes amusing, but always hypnotic and provocative. With her wit and wordplay Stein is Dr. Seuss for adults.
(Through Dec. 16 at City Garage, 1340 1/2 4th St in Santa Monica. Call