I saw this play starring Pat Carroll years ago, and I loved it. I was invited to a ModPo group to discuss one of Stein’s poems. It brought back the memory of the play, so I decided to read it. It is delightful. The one-character play allows the audience to spend a rainy afternoon in a one-sided conversation with Gertrude Stein. As Stein tells tales about all the people that traveled through the studio at 27 rue de Fleurus in Paris (the setting for the play) during the early part of the last century, the audience/reader is transported into Stein’s world. The icon of modernity conjured up by Martin is witty, entertaining and believable. Every character Stein introduces comes alive through her talent for intimate story telling. I really believed Alice Toklas was in the next room napping. The play is well researched and the writing makes it easy to suspend belief and become transported in time and space to a past era. Here is the playwright’s vision of what the audience will experience as the curtain opens:
Incidental music incidentally. Incidental music and incidentally. Incidental and incidental incidental music and and incidentally….. Alright then. Lights. And GERTRUDE STEIN. Simultaneously. She is wearing her long brown corduroy robe is sitting in her armchair quietly smoking a cigarette and pondering aloud incidentally. There is the sound of rain and distant thunder.
This is a fast read and lots of fun.