Its a Mans Word

But women dominate SCRs playwrights festival

But more interesting than the subject matter is Coxon's style. "She's a very artful writer who writes very densely," Patch said. "It's highly figurative, poetic and literary. In rhetoric, there is plain style, middle style and grand style; Lucinda writes in plain and middle style. It makes demands on performers and the audience because we don't tend to write like that in America."

Bell's play, The Falls, is set in turn-of-the-19th-century Australia, her homeland. By all accounts, it's a trippy play in the gender-bending fashion of Caryl Churchill. It features brothers who've become sisters, relics of the Missing Link, one of history's first psychoanalysts, and a mute and bearded six-year-old.

"She writes in a very theatrical way that is also quite wonderful," Patch said. "The play takes so many risks, using turn-of-the-century melodrama as a base. But it's also about truth and lies and how we want to believe lies even in the face of evidence to the contrary. . . . There are also interior monologues that are sung and for which music has been composed, and gender politics. It's an involved, really adventuresome piece."

Adding her own touch to the elaborate tapestry is director Liz Diamond, who works at Yale University and whom SCR "has tried to get into the building for most of a decade," Patch said.

We'd have a lot more to write about this festival, including lots of stuff about California Scenarios, which is the one piece that will probably get the most publicity this year, but since these fingers are attached to a man, we've run out of things to say.

Pacific Playwrights Project at South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-5555.California Scenarios: June 22-24 and June 29-July 1, 8 p.m. $10;Nostalgia: June 28-30 and July 1-2, 7:45 p.m. $18;The Falls: July 1, 11 a.m. $8. Call the theater for dates and times for the six other staged readings.
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