Cultural Arts: Stages
Victory Dance, a visionary trip through the lives of seven women, revolves around the collision of values held by an aging Jewish-Russian radical and her wounded, misfit granddaughter. Along with them, we meet a teenage girl grappling with coming out as a lesbian; an African American student learning and earning her self-respect; a poetry teacher who helps guide the girls along the slippery path to identity; and spirits from the past, including a mysterious personage dressed as a man with a story to tell about covert love in the 19th Century. As embodied by virtuoso actor/playwright Jessica Litwak, the women’s experiences hauntingly and hilariously reverberate through our own.
Written by Jessica Litwak
Directed by Sue Hamilton
Produced by Los Angeles LGBT Center/Jon Imparato
Presented at the Center’s Davidson/Valentini Theatre on October 27, 2000
Re-mounted at the Center’s Davidson/Valentini Theatre on June 7, 2002
MULTIPLE CHARACTERS………Jessica Litwak
Directed by Sue Hamilton; setting by Brad Brusavich; lighting by Sandy Lee; sound design by Jon Imparato; costume design by Rachel Sage, backdrop design by James Iansiti; production stage manager Patricia Sutherland; choreography by Licia Perea; special effects by Christy Sumner, crew Michelle Hourigan, Jennifer Lake, Adam Simon; and voiceover by Alex Manugian.
In her hilarious and moving solo performance, writer-performer Jessica Litwak creates a portrait of misfits by exploring the relationships between a high-schooler, her two best friends and her aging grandmother. In 1976 San Francisco, three longtime peers are stuck in a high school poetry class: self-hating Jewish Maya, English immigrant/closeted lesbian Luna, and Grace, a Shakespeare-quoting African American pressured by some homegirls to dump her white friends. Looming above Maya’s inner turmoil stands her cranky Russian Jewish bubbie, Masha, a woman perhaps more committed to Marxism and the Revolution than to her family. But a visit by a not so blithe spirit pushes Masha to face the possibility of making peace with her reluctant granddaughter. Employing inventive wit, Litwak expertly embodies these and other characters. Her knack for dialects allows her to coast easily from Luna’s cockney to Grace’s street patois in a performance further distinguished by limber body and dance movements, choreographed by Licia Perea. Director Sue Hamilton’s superb staging allows free rein to Litwak’s exuberant performance that somehow bridges both cultural and emotional divides.
—Martín Hernández, LA Weekly