A fascinating look at an almost forgotten silent screen pioneer, the one-woman show Tea With Lois artfully reveals the inspiring life and career of silent film writer/director Lois Weber, one of the top three directors of the 1910s. At the same time, it demonstrates how little has actually changed in the motion picture industry after nearly one century.
Employing actual Weber writings and speeches, writer/director Susan Kurtz imaginatively weaves the words together to offer an intriguing tale of a woman achieving her dreams on her own terms in a male-dominated field. The production features Weber (Rachelle Songs) appearing at the female Hollywood Studio Club in 1917 to discuss her career and answer questions from young women pursuing their own callings in the film industry.
Songs gives a compelling, expressive performance as the self-confident but down-to-earth director, showing the strength and intelligence necessary to succeed in a male-driven industry while remaining sensitive to her art and ambitions to make a difference in the world.
Weber’s words still resonate today, reflecting artists’ continual conflict with censorship, control, and politics to shape something that matters. They offer a moving and passionate defense for working for society’s better good, while the production’s sometimes static staging seems out of place for someone as quick thinking and driven as Weber.
The excellent Tea With Lois offers an inspiring and educational message about silent film industry legend and trailblazer Weber.
“Tea With Lois” plays Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm and 7:30pm through February 5th at the Secret Rose Theatre located at 11246 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. Tickets are $20. Call (800) 838-3006 to purchase tickets.