Queer Theory
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Jeff Thomas

You don’t have to be a fan of the famous literary family, the Bronte’s, to enjoy the world premiere of John O’Keefe’s drama Queer Theory, now playing at Petaluma’s Cinnabar Theater. Like many of O’Keefe’s plays, the Bronte sisters are thematically connected, especially Charlotte, Emily and Anne who wrote Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey respectively.

But Queer Theory is a wonderful comedy about two completely different people who are thrown together under strange circumstances. Rebecca, an academic, has come to the Brontes’ birthplace to deliver several critical lectures on the Bronte sisters’ literary work. Anne, an Iowa farm woman and adamant fan of the Brontes’ writing, is there to attend all the lectures and tours available at this week long Bronte festival. The two women are forced to room together and it’s hate at first sight.

Laura Jorgensen is perfect for the part of Anne. Her comic sensibilities render all the right looks when Rebecca, played by Elly Lichenstein, drops one of her many bombshells. Anne, a mother and grandmother, has been happily married to her farmer husband for decades so when Rebecca bluntly reveals that she’s a lesbian, the startled look on Anne’s face is hilarious and is followed by many comic actions. They are, after all, sleeping in the same room together. Anne makes sure she’s buried under the covers before she takes off her housecoat.

Rebecca is simply irritated by everything Anne does. Anne is a real chatterbox and Rebecca finds it very difficult to prepare for her lectures with Anne’s constant talk. Near the end of the first act they both seem on the verge of killing each other. But there’s a strange synergy that seems to be slowly developing in the midst of all this opposition, leading to a change in both women that brings them together for this brief moment in time. The transition is artfully done and never interrupts the audience’s laughter. Indeed, the laughter is enhanced as the two women subtly shift from hate to love.

At the end of the Bronte festival, both women realize that if they were to try to stay in touch or see each other again, they would never be able to recapture what has passed between them. It was a unique moment in time and place that opened their hearts to another world.

For tickets or more information call (707) 763-8920 or visit www.cinnabartheater.org.

Current / Touring / Archives / Links / Film / Video / Links / Home