'Movie Queens' explore lesbian affair

By Mia Proli Gable

Arizona Daily Wildcat

"Movie Queens," the new play at One In Ten Repertory Theatre, is an attempt to break down uncomfortable barriers about homosexuality and show that love is love, no matter who's involved. But the attempt to enlighten the public about the struggles of two lesbian women in Hollywood during the 1930s fails to be convincing as it is riddled with bad acting.

The plot weaves between 1980s Broadway and 1930s Hollywood, depicting the lives of two famous actresses, Meg Elliot and Adele Montrose. Meg is a perky, Ginger Rogers-type while Adele is the more lusty, Ingrid Bergman-type. The women fall in love with each other and have a hushed affair because Adele feels that being exposed as a lesbian would damage her career.

Adele's career is the most important thing in her life and she would do anything to be a famous movie star, even marry a man and shun the love of Meg, which she does. Fifty years later they are reunited on Broadway cast as sisters in a play. Throughout the course of rehearsals they explore their lives together and the struggles they went through to love in a time of homosexual fear.

As past and present are constantly changing in "Movie Queens," the roles of Meg and Adele are double cast to include both young and old versions of the women. Unfortunately, neither pair is strong enough to convince the audience that these two woman truly love each other and belong together.

Lissa Diaz, as young Adele, shows the depth and emotion that Jodina Scazzola, as the present-day Adele, fails to convey. Likewise, Rhonda Hallquist is a more convincing Meg than her younger counterpart played by Karen Anderson.

It's not the subject matter of "Movie Queens" that makes it unenjoyable. It seems as if director Kimberly Lowry wanted to concentrate on shocking the audience by showing women kissing on stage and telling each other to take their clothes off. What these scenes lack is the support to show that these two women should be kissing and really desire one another. What is in a kiss if it is not surrounded by real emotion, regardless of who it engages?

One In Ten's dedication to the gay and lesbian community is made clear in "Movie Queens." Hopefully future productions will continue to reinforce that homosexual love is no different than heterosexual love.

One In Ten Repertory Theatre will show "Movie Queens" through Feb. 25. For more information or reservations call 770-9279.

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