Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (January 25, 2008)

THESE DAYS ARE SHA-AH-AH-AH-AW’S

This week, I had the distinct, if somewhat disorienting, pleasure of seeing out actress Fiona Shaw in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

If you’re not a fan of absurdist theater in the first place, that photo has probably already put you off. But if you’re even slightly interested in the quirky musings of a woman who is stuck in a mound of earth, this is the play to see!

Shaw, whose partner is Saffron Burrows, has been getting rave reviews for her interpretation of Winnie, a role she has played for over a year now in various productions. Time Out: New York bestowed its first six-star review on Happy Days — and since the play is almost a one-woman show, those six stars are really for Shaw. Critic David Cote called Shaw “heart-stoppingly brilliant” in a recent episode of NY1′s theater show On Stage. She’s also heart-stoppingly stunning in the production, and nothing like Aunt Petunia in the Harry Potter movies.

Happy Days isn’t easily summarized, but here are a couple of clips. First, Act 1, in which Winnie is feeling very positive and still somewhat mobile:



Yeah, that didn’t make much sense. But it’s marvelous in context, I swear! Anyway, in Act 2, things take a decided turn for the worse:



That last part freaked me out a lot, and also reminded me of how our own Sarah Warn looks on the weekends after one too many late nights online. Absurd doesn’t begin to cover it!

All joking aside, Shaw’s performance in Happy Days is magnificent. I can’t even find enough adjectives for it: mind-blowing, inspiring, dazzling, sublime — there is no superlative super enough. If you’re anywhere near Brooklyn, see it while you can — its run ends Feb. 2. (Purchase tickets here.)

LENDS NEW MEANING TO THE TERM THEATER QUEEN

Theater is often thought of as the purview of the G in LGBT, but there’s even more than Shaw to love onstage right now.

First, Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne) is currently playing a lesbian in November — read our review here.

Meanwhile, out director Leigh Silverman will direct Julie White (who played a lesbian in The Little Dog Laughed) in the upcoming play From Up Here. Sadly, White’s not playing a lesbian in this one.

And in Los Angeles, the musical Prove It on Me centers on a star-crossed love affair between two women during the Harlem Renaissance. Sweet Baby J’ai plays saloon singer Georgia Brooks. Aynsley Bubbico plays Lindsey, the flapper who swoons when Georgia croons.

According to Variety, the title comes from Ma Rainey’s 1924 “ode to lesbian love,” the “Prove It on Me Blues.” Who knew there were odes to lesbian love in 1924? I’m guessing there weren’t many, and they probably all had the word "blues" in the title.

Prove It on Me runs through March 2 at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood. Purchase tickets at the official website.

And finally, out playwright Paula Vogel is the new chair of the playwriting department at the Yale School of Drama. Are we taking over the theater world or what? Next thing you know, there’ll be an off-Broadway show based on lesbian pulp fiction novels. (Previews of The Beebo Brinker Chronicles begin Feb. 19 — look for our story about the play next month.)

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