Bear with me here: a couple of years ago, when I had ceased to be skinny, I was lying around a hotel pool with a tiny, none-word-mincing friend who was visiting from New York. She went to ring for the elevator as I was about to get dressed to go back to the room, but a guy started bothering me. So I just walked quickly to the elevator in my bikini. My friend looked at my newly-zaftig body and blurted-out, “At least you’re tall!!!” Charming. But true.

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

At the end of the under-90-minute-long Palestine, New Mexico at the Mark Taper Forum on opening night, someone asked what I thought of it. My assessment? “At least it’s short!” It’s not that the Culture Clash-penned (and partially performed) play was awful, except for a good deal of the acting. I just didn’t know exactly what was going on or what it was about, and didn’t want to use any brain power on figuring it out. (I had to save it for this review, of course!) But I actually loved Rachel Hauck’s set, Alexander V. Nichols’ interesting effects, and even a couple of Christopher Acebo’s basic-yet-interesting costumes. (To be exact, the fallen soldier’s ethereal vestments and his wife’s casual jean outfit that I was so taken with, I’ll be copying it in the very near future.) And I was really into the great simulation of a peyote-induced hallucination. (At least I think it was a great simulation–I wouldn’t know personally. Seriously. Now if it were a sugar-induced hallucination, I can for sure speak to that.) When I got home, Mr. X asked me what the play was about, and as I heard myself trying to describe it, I realized that I really didn’t get it–at all. The only good to come out of it is that I got reminded to light the Chanukkah candles that I forgot to do before I left for the early curtain. No kidding. So, all I can describe for you is that it was about war and Native Americans and the desert and religion. What it all means is anybody’s guess. Possibly including the actors.

Palestine, New Mexico running through January 24, 2010
Mark Taper Forum   135 N. Grand Ave.   213-628-2772


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