Wallace Shawn is a brilliant dramatist and Renaissance man, whose controversial piece, Aunt Dan and Lemon, is now on stage at Luna Playhouse. The play is the darkest of black comedies; its monologues (both engaging and disturbing) bring a sense of society’s broken moral compass. Lemon (or Leonora), played by Lisa Younger, is as refreshing and bitter as the lime-celery juices she consumes for a digestive illness, as she opens and closes the show with two long diatribes (also quite hard to digest!), with fascist overtones, and casual, nonchalant acceptance of violence, and man’s inhumanity toward man.
The subject matter is a bitter pill to swallow, discomfiting the audience, who may feel an urge to squirm in their seats, as they hear Lemon refer to Nazi atrocities and monstrous acts: “…no society has ever considered the taking of life an unpardonable crime or even, really, a major tragedy. It’s something that’s done when it has to be done, simple as that.”
Aunt Dan (Danielle), played by charismatic actress Jacqueline Axton, is an “Auntie Mame” of sorts to Lemon. Throughout Lemon’s childhood, she has had an infatuation for her Aunt Dan, a dynamic mentor, who exposes Lemon to right-wing pro-Kissinger policies, and introduces her to a menagerie of acquaintances and jetsetters, played by a first rate ensemble.
As Lemon, quite frail and fragile, reminisces of her interactions with Aunt Dan, her eyes sparkle, and she recalls the one stable role model/influence in an otherwise shaky, broken life, her English childhood amidst the Vietnam War.
Through May 28 Thurs. & Fri., 7:30 p.m.
3706 San Fernando Road, Glendale, CA
(818) 500-7200 • www.itsmyseat.com