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April 14, 2009

MISS JULIE IS A BITCH


Pictured (Right) Mark Anderson Phillips (Jean) and Lauren Grace (Miss Julie) in a foot fetish scene. Photo: David Allen

Lee Hartgrave Reviews
April 14, 2009

MISS JULIE IS A BITCH

--“A CHILLING MOVING PLAY” - LH

The August Strindberg play deals with love/lust and the battle of sexes. It takes place in the 1800’s on the estate of a Count in Sweden. Miss Julie, his daughter feels trapped in her comfy life style. She wants to have fun and dance – even with a servant.

There is one particular servant, a footman (Jean), who is amazingly well mannered, intelligent, worldly and sexy – and Miss Julie can’t keep her hands off of him.

All of the cat and mouse sexual tension takes place in the Manor’s large Kitchen, where Jean’s fiancĂ©e Christine (the cook) knows what is going on with Miss Julie and Jean – but leaves them to their own destruction as she goes out of the room to sleep.

The tension is not just sexual. There is a power grab going on as well. Miss Julie being upper class can lord her power over Jean. But Jean counters her with his extreme maleness. Also we must not forget Julie’s father, the Count (an unseen character) who has the ultimate power over them both. Although the Count is unseen the ever presence of his boots in the Kitchen let us know that he is around – and then there is the servants Bell that rings. It brings Jean the Servant back to reality.

The sexual flirtation reaches fever pitch. It goes from flirtatious to a lusty, twisted love relationship. But, Jean is not so much interested in love as he is in gaining wealth and power. And he sees Miss Julie as his ticket to everything he ever dreamed about. Sometimes Jean is kind, and then he turns on a dime and becomes a brutal sadistic man. This only draws Miss Julie more into his power that becomes stronger every time they meet.

And they do end up having sex. Miss Julie will now do anything that Jean wants her to do. Jean's raging Hormones are too overwhelming for Miss Julie. There is no escape for her. She is trapped and unfortunately the only way out is not very pleasant.

THIS IS A PLAY THAT YOU WILL REMEMBER FOREVER!

THESE ARE THE TALENTS THAT MAKE THIS PLAY SO GREAT: BETH DEITCHMAN (CHRISTINE) “AWESOME AND MYSTERIOUS!”

MARK ANDERSON PHILLIPS (JEAN) EMOTIONALLY RICH PERFORMER! HIS ACTING IS JET-PROPELLED!”
BEST PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR – LH

LAUREN GRACE (MISS JULIE) – “PROVOCATIVE AND HAUNTING AND CHILLING! A REAL WORK OF ART!”

EXTRAS: LETS SET OFF FIREWORKS FOR HELEN COOPER’S VERSION OF STRINDBERG’S PLAY. SHE MADE IT FRESH AND CREATED A WHOLE NEW WORLD.

DIRECTOR MARK JACKSON: HE KNOWS HOW TO MAKE THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT SNEAK UP ON YOU! “MASTERFUL!”

GIULIO CESARE PERRONE (Set Designer) GAVE US STARKNESS THAT SLIPPED INTO HORROR. ALL THE CLUES WERE RIGHT THERE ON THE STAGE.

HEATHER BASARAB LIGHTING WAS FABULOUS!

FUMIKO BIELEFELDT - COSTUMES (San Francisco’s Edith Head). AS USUAL, SHE CREATED FLAT-OUT GREAT COSTUMES THAT FIT THE PERIOD PERFECTLY.

You’ll be knocked out by this play. Its impact is enormous.

AT THE AURORA THEATRE IN BERKELEY

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! – (highest rating) – trademarked –

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))

Read more reviews at www.beyondchron.org.

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