"Sexy Maus" Brings a Seductive Spin on the Homeric Odyssey
Andrea Schell is that friend of yours who is the life of the party.
Entertaining, enthralling, smart, sexy, she can salvage the shoddiest dinner party by her mere presence.
And there you have both the strength and weakness of “Sexy Maus” which is appearing as part of the 2016 Hollywood fringe.
Schell is a dynamo as she relates her journey through some of continental Europe’s inviting capitals – her itinerary connecting her various destinations together to form a huge question mark.
Her journey is somewhat on par with the 12 Stations of the Cross, only minus 4 and a hell of a lot sexier, and much, much funnier.
Her story launches from a low spot. She finds no joy or longevity in any of her relationships, she tending her elderly parents, a mother who wails when she tries to replace dead bushes about the house and a father who pushes back when she suggests some house cleaning: “throw out those five broken vacuum cleaners I was going to fix?”
On top of that she turns forty.
Schell travels to Europe, not so much to escape her life, as to find if she’s still capable of having one, and the show consists of the stories of that trek, and the series of romantic encounters in the places she visits.
Wade Gasque directs. He fuels the pacing evenly, and has a sturdy grip on the delivery of both the pathos and humor. It is questionable though also inconsequential, why he thought a bedroom, while so much an arena of the narrative, needed to be on stage when it is hardly employed. Schell’s dialogue percolates with humor and style, describing one encounter, as all “sweetness and Targaryens”, and quips after one interlude of self-inspection, “I don’t have an answer but I do have a date.”
She is engaging, rippling with vitality and sexuality.
Less so her tales.
Perhaps an over reliance of her energy and wit is the problem here, for Schell’s narrative feels underworked and her eventual decipherment of life as “sex can be anything”, while sweet is a bit undernourished.
While her challenges and tribulations certainly do connect with the audience, they bruise rather than break the skin.
“Sexy Maus”, more than anything else, is Homer’s Odyssey, but framed within a feminine perspective. By which I don’t mean “feminist”, though there are a couple of well timed and very amusing nods in that direction.
But rather that Schell’s tale is devoid of any appreciable testosterone, so there was no cannibalistic Laestrygonian or six-headed Scylla, and no one gets turned into a pig though Waller does kiss one or two.
She does find herself briefly “lashed” to the mast as she passes through an Oktoberfest celebration which supplies the whirlpool of Charybdis, and where the masculine equivalent of sirens threaten not with their alluring song, but groping hands.
In tuned to her gender perspective of genre here, it is a giant wooden shoed Polyphemus that comes to her rescue that ends not with a blinding but with arms tenderly entwined.
The odyssey that Schell spins is in essence the tales of Circe, Calypso, Nausicaa and Penelope, where Schell doesn’t find them in distant foreign lands but within herself.
Whatever else it is however, Schell’s “Sexy Maus” is both great fun and an entertaining reminder that “He, who would bring home the wealth of the Indies, must carry the wealth of the Indies with him.”
Or in this case, “her.”
Continues at the Hollywood Fringe Festival at at Sacred Fools Theater (Studio) 1078 Lillian Way
Performances: Saturday, June 4th @8PM (preview), Saturday, June 11th @ 12:30PM, Sunday, June 12th @2:00PM, Saturday, June 18th @ 8PM, Sunday, June 19th @10:30AM (father’s day!), Saturday, June 25th @ 10:00PM
For tickets and more information go here.