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Review: War Lesbian’s World Premiere at Dixon Place

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Photo Credit: Sasha Aleksandra Arutyunova
Jessica Almasy, Erin Markey, and Kristine Haruna Lee in “War Lesbian.” Photo Credit: Sasha Aleksandra Arutyunova

It took almost an hour to see any war in the harunalee company’s new musical, War Lesbians, at Dixon Place last Friday night. And by that time, I wasn’t sure what the battle was for. Our heroine, Sedna (Erin Markey), born out of a ‘thought’ of her mother, Womb (Jessica Almasy), yearns to break out of the ‘hole’ she is in, so to speak, and when she does get out, finds herself, well, miserable in the real world.

After losing her fingers to her bear of a father Mitch (Derek Smith) — this was no virginal birth — who chops them off when he expels her from her womb-ly home after he discovers that the son he thought he had is a girl, our heroine sets out on a Wizard of Oz like journey to find her place in the world. The story, written by Kristing Haruna Lee with music by Katie Hathaway,  is based on an Inuit myth about a woman who is rejected from her family for being different and embarks on a journey, creating wars with others and within herself.

Along the way we meet a funny cast of characters that include a guitar strumming Moon God, Tatqim (Andrew R. Butler), and a cynical Beached Whale (Amir Wachterman) who act as Sedna’s guides, as she, battles with her demons — while wearing boxer-like bandages over her fingerless hands. Her fingers become squirmy pet seals who follow her around, getting into trouble if they are not walked daily.  The Lesbian comes in the form of empathetic girlfriend, Qualertetang (Cyndi Perczek), who likes Sedna just the way she is—digitless hands and all.

The whole show is presided over by Ellen. Yes, that Ellen, portrayed energetically by Kristine Haruna Lee. The original music by Kathryn Hathaway performed live by a trio of musicians ( Julie Pacheco, Sophia Sun and David Su) and accompanied by a Greek chorus of Beautiful Hand Maidens (Stephanie A. Hsu & Preston Martin) adds a nice, eerily melodic soundtrack to Sedna’s life.  And our heroine? Does she win her war? Let’s just say…there is no place like womb.

Presented by Dixon Place. (161A Chrystie St.) Featuring Erin Markey, Director Jordon Fein, Playwright Kristine Haruna Lee and Composer Katie Hathaway. Fridays and Saturdays through December 20th at 7:30PM, December 20th also at 10:00PM. Tickets are $16 in advance, $18 at the door, and $12 for seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.dixonplace.org.

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