I really wanted to like this play. Three quintessential literary characters find themselves outside of their stories and shoved together in some sort of literary limbo. What a cool concept! I really wanted to like this walking in, and I still want to like it after leaving, but I can’t quite get there. Savannah Gilmore as Daisy from The Great Gatsby, was stunning. She was period specific from her costume to her sensually languid voice, to her drawn out, teasing reveal of her misery. She fit her story. Sophia Brackenridge as Ophelia from “Hamlet” also fits her story and period. With these two firmly placed in their respective worlds it was jarring that Leah Artenian as Lolita, from Lolita, came across as more of a modern day teen instead of a highly damaged/abused teen in the early 1950s. Her costume further removed her from her period and story.
I also found it highly disappointing that when these women realize their freedom, their impulse is to celebrate in a Woodstock-esque shrieking romp that seemed to have no point other than to burn off pent up energy. Which is fine if you’re going for a cliche sorority slumber-party feel, but feels like a divergence from a message of feminist liberation.
At one point, Lolita laments that everyone knows her from Humbert’s perspective, which would be a perfect segway to really dig in to the fact that each of their stories are written by men. Or even to delve into the topic of unreliable narrators. They fail to do this. Had they continued along this vein, they may have been able to discover some palpable consolation for returning to their stories. Instead, we all seemed to end where we began. This play comes close to hitting the mark, but it is far enough off that I can’t get on board.
This show and others are discussed on episode 5 of the See It or Skip It LA podcast.