September 23, 2008

Musical Revue Pokes Fun at Feminist Message

By Barry Gaines For the Journal

When I saw that the musical revue "A ... My Name is Alice" was produced by The Woman's Project at the American Place Theatre in the early '80s, I feared an evening of "whine, women and song." At the Adobe, under the direction of Tish Miller, however, the feminist message is muted with laughter and self-deprecation. The work was originally conceived by Joan Micklin Silver and Julianne Boyd, and the numbers presented at the Adobe represent 25 different lyricists and composers presented by seven women (and a man).

An example of the gentle fun made of women in some of the pieces is a series of poems read with a comic deadpan (and a black wig) by Jane Hoffman from "For Women Only." Each presents an image of a wounded woman and contains the refrain "He did it/He did it." At the same time, the numbers are only loosely connected to each other and some appear dated.

The strongest audience reaction comes from "Hot Lunch," a short scene with no music at all. A woman, engagingly played by Diane Rosnagle Short, passes in front of a hardhatted construction worker on his lunch break. He makes a chauvinist-pig comment about her "gazoombas" (curvaceous feminine pulchritude). The woman stops, confronts the boor and overwhelms him with her proffered sexuality. He runs away in terror and she continues on her way with an air of satisfaction.

"At My Age" pairs Lynda Abshire as a recent widow and Veronikka Sylvas as a 15-year-old. They both apply makeup, the widow for her "first blind date" and the teen for her "first real date." Their anxieties are the same. Erin Gibbs presents two numbers, "The French Monologue" and "The French Song," that have fun with the French language. Sassy Stephanie Lynn Burch is the star of the production number "Emily the M.B.A.," about a strong women who entered the business world while warning other women, "Remember we've got to change all of it,/But be sure what gets changed/Isn't you." When she leads a hostile takeover of a feminist firm, she dies in an auto accident.

My favorite piece is "Honeypot," where a psychotherapist (Abshire) tells a blues singer (Short) that her song lyrics are an attempt "to articulate your sexual needs."

The revue is uneven but fun.

If you go

WHAT: "A ... My Name is Alice"

WHEN: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Oct. 12

WHERE: Adobe Theater, 9813 Fourth NW


$14 general public, $12 seniors and students. Call 898-9222 for ticket information

(c) 2008 Albuquerque Journal. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.