War Lesbian OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Julieta Cervantes
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • THEATRE IS EASY

Opening Night:
December 5, 2014
Closing:
December 20, 2014

Theater: Dixon Place / 161 Chrystie Street, New York, NY, 10002

Synopsis: 

War Lesbian, is a new musical based on an Inuit myth about a woman who is rejected from her family for being different and embarks upon a journey creating wars with others and within herself. The musical deals with impossible probabilities, ridiculous heartbreak, and absurdity in which anything, and that means anything, goes. War Lesbian is set in a universe where Ellen DeGeneres is a demonic demi-god and digging for truths and covering up holes can cause wars.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF War Lesbian

    A Talk Show Host by Day, a Soul Eater by Night

    Alexis Soloski

    December 12, 2014: Hey, remember that heroic myth where a thought springs fully formed from a Marie Antoinette wig, befriends a beached whale and does deadly battle with Ellen DeGeneres? Me neither. Kristine Haruna Lee’s lively, haphazard War Lesbian, at Dixon Place, whirls together Hesiod’s poem Theogony with daytime talk shows, horror movies, nature documentaries, lesbian pulp fiction and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto. It is a show so full of impulses and ideas and splendid, fractious energy that it’s an hour or so before you begin to suspect that it may not be about much of anything at all. On a stage lavishly cluttered with sheets of crumpled paper, a womb (Jessica Almasy) in an elaborate headdress births a thought (Erin Markey). The demigod Ellen DeGeneres (Ms. Lee) names that thought Sedna. Despite the cropped hair and masculine tailoring, this demonic figure may not be the Ellen you know and supposedly love. “I’m ripping your tiny little souls in half and eating it on a silver platter with other fine expensive animal guts and grapes,” she says cheerily.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF War Lesbian

    An ambitious opera about an Inuit sea goddess floats and sinks in equal measure

    Helen Shaw

    December 11, 2014: Even before I get into the specifics of Kristine Haruna Lee's War Lesbian, I must tell you: It's a mess. Granted, it's at Dixon Place, an invaluable incubator for gorgeous messes, but even when approached with generous expectations, it goes on too long and collapses into a queasy “love before war” triviality. So where do my three-star rating and lasting affection for it come from? Well, the nice thing about stars is that they don't have to shine steadily—they can twinkle. There's ambition and scope in Lee's musical, and throughout it there are flashes of spectacle, imagination, humor and incandescent fury. Lee's pop-opera collaboration with composer Kathryn Hathaway flickers with occasional excellence even when its pace sags; in its darkest moments you can always find some performer or some naughty bit of stage business shining away in a corner. We start in an Alaska of crumpled white paper (director Jordan Fein creates distinct worlds out of garbage and attitude), where daffy goddess Womb (Jessica Almasy) plays abstractedly with her hair. The band is tucked under the balcony overhang, and over by the piano, two space-eskimo–chic crooners (Stephanie A. Hsu and Preston Martin) sing wry commentary. As Womb lounges on the floor balancing a Marie Antoinette wig on her head, and trying—really trying—to have a single thought, she is annoyed and dominated by another goddess, Ellen (Lee herself), a short-haired, cheerful icon who seems very much like a certain talk-show host. Ellen's smile is predatory. “I'm a very specific kind of comfort food,” she grits through her grin.

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  • THEATRE IS EASY REVIEW OF War Lesbian

    An experimental play with music about the sexual awakening of an Alaskan girl

    Teddy Nicholas

    December 14, 2014: Among the whiteness of Nothing, a thought emerges, accompanied by the sound of a chorus and a small band. But not before Ellen Degeneres welcomes us. Or perhaps she is not Ellen Degeneres as we know her, but a demon. And the woman on the floor, the one who smiled at us as we entered Dixon Place, she is the mother of the thought, which is called Sedna. And as convoluted as all that may sound, rest assured it makes perfect sense in the world of Kristine Haruna Lee’s revolutionary coming-of-age musical play War Lesbian. Sedna (Erin Markey), a young girl born from a ditzy mother called Womb (Jessica Almasy), struggles to find happiness in her Alaskan homeland. At the suggestion of Ellen (Kristine Haruna Lee) and Womb, Sedna is thrust into a sexual relationship with a dumb jock Gentleman Caller (Chris Tyler). Their sexual excursions are violent and strange yet Sedna becomes fascinated with various holes (both physical and metaphoric) and a sexual awakening begins. When Mitch (Derek Smith), a bear who claims to be her father and refers to Sedna as his son, arrives on the scene, Sedna is violently thrust into the Underworld with her fingers chopped off and turned into seals.

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