Ladies Who Launched

As part of "Gertrude and Alice: 100 Years, 100 Roses," a centennial celebration of the date Stein and Toklas first met in Paris, Still Life With Stein: A Surreal Play for the Imagination features Stein's words and style brought to the stage. Laura Sheppard, who runs events at the Mechanics' Institute private library, takes to the boards in a solo performance set at a dinner table and based on Stein's experimental, logic-thrashing classic Tender Buttons: objects, food, rooms. Appropriately, the stage adaptation doesn't take plot very seriously, and instead uses nursery rhyme, snippets of music, and the author's signature Cubist-inspired deconstruction of language. "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose" may be Stein's best-known quotation (we won't get into that other, Oakland-insulting one), but Still Life is more likely to find the be-hatted Sheppard toasting herself elegantly and uttering, "The change of color is likely and a difference a very little difference is prepared. Sugar is not a vegetable."

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