Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Hurricane Diane: ★ ★ ★

Madeleine George’s “Hurricane Diane” opened last night at the Aurora in Berkeley. The idea is that the demigod Diana, the gender-fluid Dionysius of ancient Greece who was the patron saint of theater as well as a champion of sexual liberty, has returned to Earth, in this case to Monmouth County, NJ. Her mission is to warn citizens that the earth’s biological clock is ticking down to zero, but her true purpose seems to be to seduce as many suburban housewives as possible, thereby reducing them to worshiping acolytes. They all hate their stupid, pathetic husbands so they don’t need a lot of convincing. 

On one hand this is Sappho's Magical Mystery Tour, and there were cheers as each housewife fell, but on the other hand a very real message is being delivered here: humans have destroyed the Earth, which means human existence is finished. lady, so you may as well submit to Diane's not-too-subtle advances.

Stacy Ross is Diana. 

She is a wisecracking landscape designer whose very presence excites Beth (Gianna DiGregoria Rivera), Pam (Luisa Sarmol) and Renee (Leontyne Mbele-Mbong). These kaffe-klatch ladies appear powerless to keep Diana from re-purposing their crabgrass. The one exception, however, is Carol, played by Rebecca Schweitzer who is determined to be the last woman standing, even if this means saying adiós to Mother Earth. 

We loved the way Schweitzer developed the role of Carol, from the insipid-ish homeowner obsessed with resale value and curb appeal, to the person who, in the end, controls our destiny -- which is to say, she is all of us. 

The ending can use a little work. We're not sure what Diane and the three Supremes were doing in those robes. 


The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division grants THREE STARS to "Hurricane Diane." What we loved best was the acting. All four women have their moments to shine, though we wish Stacy Ross were a little less current - I mean, would a 3,000 year-old Greek demigod really toss around all those f-bombs? 

I guess they would be PHI-Bombs.

And we really loved Luisa Sarmol. 

Hurricane Diane
The Aurora Theatre
2081 Addison Street, Berkeley
Through July 16

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