The Marriage of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Richard Termine
  • Opening Night:
    May 14, 2017
    Closing:
    May 28, 2017

    Theater: HERE Arts Center / 145 Ave. of Americas, New York, NY, 10013

    Synopsis: 

    A farce set at the fantasy wedding of Toklas and Stein, in which downtown theater notables Jan Leslie Harding, Mia Katigbak, Grant Neale & Alyssa Simon play Parisian expatriate notables of a century ago. Picasso has brought two of his mistresses and one of his wives. Hemingway has also brought his wife but is more obsessed by his matador. Meanwhile, all involved discuss matters of art, genius, friendship, religion, more genius, sexuality, money, fame, genius again, and of course love. The play both celebrates the love of Toklas and Stein and examines the significance of legal legitimacy and the lack thereof. Winner of a playwriting award and grant from the Arch & Bruce Brown Foundation for positive portrayals of LGBTQ historical characters. To quote them: "Writing in the style of Stein, with his tongue firmly in cheek, Einhorn has concocted a heady guest list of 1920s literati and their friends coming together to celebrate in a French farce of epic proportions."

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  • NY TIMES REVIEW OF The Marriage of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein

    Love, Genius and ‘The Marriage of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein’

    Jesse Green

    May 14, 2017:

    “The Marriage of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein” is a play not by Gertrude Stein but is a play by Edward Einhorn that is a play about marriage pretending to be a play about a play about a marriage.

    Or so Stein, as imagined here by Mr. Einhorn, might say, if she were a particularly unhelpful theater critic. In the course of an 80-minute work that centers on the two women’s nuptials, Mr. Einhorn gives Stein, and often Toklas, dialogue that circles and careens before crash landing in unknown territory. “I am Gertrude,” says Gertrude, “pretending to be Alice so when I say Gertrude loves me I mean Gertrude loves Alice.”

    Whether Stein really spoke that way — the way she wrote — is not something Mr. Einhorn concerns himself with. Rather, he is interested in borrowing her compulsively reiterative, continuous-present-tense prose style for its intrinsic delight. To that extent, this “Marriage” is a silly aural pleasure, like a child babbling or a suite of Looney Tunes. But to the extent this “Marriage” is not silly at all, but still pleasurable, Stein’s style also serves another purpose: as a marker for the ambiguity that a genius, or any dominant partner, is able to turn into a weapon against intimacy.

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