Gertrude and Alice

New play explores unsung genius of gay literary icon Gertrude Stein

Presented by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Independent Aunties
Written by Anna Chatterton and Evalyn Parry, in collaboration with Karin Randoja
With additional text by Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas
Directed by Karin Randoja

Anna Chatterton and Evalyn Parry. Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh.

Gertrude and Alice is a beautifully poignant and whimsical exploration of the legacy of one of America’s greatest modernist writers. The play shines a spotlight on Gertrude Stein’s relationship with her partner of 40 years, Alice B. Toklas, and raises questions about how Stein is remembered and why, perhaps, she is not remembered.

Just as Stein directly addresses the audience throughout the play, Gertrude and Alice does not shy away from directly addressing the question of why she is not as well known as her famous contemporaries and friends Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce. At least three of those four men are commonly described as geniuses, and while certainly not complaining, Stein begs the question of why she was not considered a genius in her time.

Rather than providing a linear narrative peppered with scenes featuring Stein’s many famous friends, the play features only Stein and Toklas in a pastiche of scenes that echoes Stein’s distinctive style. Parry’s channeling of Stein is captivating, with Chatterton's slightly comical Toklas providing the perfect counter balance to Stein’s penetrating gaze and challenging questions.

Whimsical music and projections of modernist artwork and patterns along the walls give the impression that Gertrude and Alice exist outside of time; that they are interlopers visiting us for a short time, again a stylistic echo of Stein’s modernist deconstructionism. It works perfectly.

Gertrude and Alice is a delightful and intensely thought-provoking celebration of Stein’s legacy that raises important questions about how she fits into the American literary canon as a queer woman. Catch it until March 27, 2016 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Visit for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Sat, 2016-03-05 - Sun, 2016-03-27
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