- Posted: 1:58 PM, October 24, 2012
The result -- a New Georges production at Brooklyn's Irondale Center until Nov. 9 -- is amateur hour. Make that amateur hours, as the performance I caught on Monday ran for nearly two of them, without an intermission. "Maybe we're trapped in a brain tangle," Anon quips. Quite. And not in a good way.
The entire show feels like one long loose end, a collage of quotes, lyrics and non-sequitur scenes linked by ragged connective tissue and clumsily staged by Kara-Lynn Vaeni. The most basic thing a director must do is control the audience's gaze: We need to be told where to look. At "AliceGraceAnon," I often found myself desperately scanning the sprawling, two-level stage to find who the heck was talking. More often than not I couldn't spot them and ended up staring at "the Spectacle Brigade" (ie the ensemble) move set elements around.
Besides the initial premise, another good idea went underdeveloped: The three women rebel against their creators.
Alice (Teresa Avia Lim, with a gratingly bad English accent) fends off the unrequited advances of Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll (Eric Clem).
Anon (Christina Pumariega, way too wholesome and fit for a drug addict) faces Beatrice Sparks (Matt Dellapina), the Mormon therapist who actually wrote the fake diary that makes up "Go Ask Alice."
As for Grace Slick (Carolyn Baeumler, playing an impassive singer as if she were Courtney Love), she dukes it out with bandmember/lover Paul Kantner (Dellapina again), who claimed to be her Pygmalion. Out of the blue, Slick recalls her "strawberry f--k" with Jim Morrison -- Corthron clearly read Slick's memoir "Somebody to Love?" She sings snippets of Jefferson Airplane songs with the onstage band.
But these are just characters to which nothing happens: They just are.
To make matters worse, the show is meant to be an immersive experience, which boils down to having the audience walk through an "installation" before the show proper. This involves a lot of green paper, friendly volunteers in cut-rate costumes, and a toaster. After the immaculately executed "Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812," this is just feeble.
You're better off checking out the many vintage Jefferson Airplane videos on YouTube, as well as the 1973 made-for-TV movie version of "Go Ask Alice," starring William Shatner, Ruth "Strangers on a Train" Roman, Andy Griffith and, er, Mackenzie Phillips. Talk about brain tangle.