Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
Also see Richard's recent reviews of Dominion, A House Tour of the Infamous Porter Family Mansion, Middletown, and Buyer & Cellar
Lorri Holt mesmerizes the audience for 80 minutes with stories of Colette's life with Henry Gauthier-Villars, 15 years her senior, how he introduced her to the world of Parisian salons during the Belle Époque era, how he discovered that she could write, and how he forced her to write and then took credit for her writing. The artist tells how she finally gained financial independence from her controlling husband, met cross-dressing lesbian Marquise de Belbeuf, sometimes called "Missy," and lived a scandalized life with her in a select social circle, and how she met Henry de Jouvenel during World War I.
What I found fascinating is when she tells of her final marriage, to the Jewish jeweler Maurice Goudeket during World War II when the Nazis occupied Paris. By this time, Colette is a famous writer and, as she says to the audience, "For the first time, my reputation as a writer overcomes my reputation as a scandalous woman." Maurice is arrested as Jew and detained by the Nazis. He is about to be sent to a concentration camp, but she is friends with the wife of the German ambassador who is a fan of the writer and she obtains his release. She says, "No writer has ever gotten more for a few signed books." Lorri Holt skims over how she wrote "Gigi" but says she got the idea during an air-raid alarm.
Lorri Holt performs Colette Uncensored through May 14th, 2016, at The Marsh, 1062 Valencia Street, San Francisco. For tickets 415-282-3055 or visit www.themarsh.org.