Gertrude Stein and a Companion | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Gertrude Stein and a Companion 

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What is the answer?" Alice B. Toklas begs her dying companion. "What is the question?" answers Gertrude Stein with her last breath. And with that vaudevillian exchange ended the marriage of two of the most remarkable female minds of the 20th century. Win Wells's Gertrude Stein and a Companion traces the extraordinary relationship between Stein, experimental author and collector of art and artists, and her lifelong friend, who remained devoted to her memory and the life they shared. Originally produced last spring, this revival reunites Wells's play with Strawdog Theatre (in connection with Borealis Productions), director Chrisanne Blankenship, and Alexandra Billings and Jamie Pachino in the roles of the two famous women. Neither Billings nor Pachino resemble their real-life prototypes in the least, but they parry and riposte their way through Wells's intricate lyricism with such enthusiasm as to make the evening a pleasure. Strawdog Theatre Company, 3829 N. Broady, 528-9889. Through March 7: Fridays-Saturdays, 7:30 PM; Sundays, 2:30 PM. $10.

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