Performed by Lorri Holt
Written by Zack Rogow & Lorri Holt
Directed by David Ford
October 6 – November 4, 2017 | Berkeley
COLETTE UNCENSORED tells the story of the author’s passionate quest as a writer, a woman, a pioneer for social change, and a lover. Colette wrote the books that the movies Gigi and Cheri were based on, as well as fifty other works. In addition to a prolific career as a writer, Colette blazed trails in many areas, from women’s empowerment, to respect for nature, to sexual liberation. Before her exquisite writing was accepted as classic, Colette was shunned by polite society for her scandalous life—her many affairs with women and men, her appearing on stage scantily clad during her years in vaudeville, and her refusal ever to compromise in the pursuit of personal freedom.
The play includes several excerpts from a newly published collection of Colette’s writings, Shipwrecked on a Traffic Island and Other Previously Untranslated Gems, translated by Zack Rogow and Renée Morel. Last winter Lorri Holt did a series of readings at Bay Area bookstores to launch the publication of this new collection of Colette’s work. The response to these readings was so enthusiastic that Zack and Lorri decided to approach the Kennedy Center in Washington DC about doing a one-woman show based on Colette’s life and work, during the recent revival of the musical Gigi. Lorri performed a staged reading of an early version of the show in February 2015 at the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center.
Zack and Lorri have extensively revised the script under the guidance of David Ford. The show now presents an overview of Colette’s life in an intimate theater piece, interwoven with excerpts from the author’s work that display Colette’s extraordinary gifts for storytelling, social commentary, humor, and description of nature.
“Lorri Holt is one of those Bay Area actors who, when her name is associated with a production, you automatically want to see it…There’s a definite “ooh la la” factor to Colette’s story, and Holt can flirt with and tease an audience like a true Parisian.” –Chad Jones, SF Chronicle
“Lorri Holt is nothing short of spectacular in this production.”–Theatre Eddy’s
“Watching Lorri Holt speak as Colette is like having a conversation with the most interesting person you have ever met.” –Ilana Walder-Biesanz, Stark Insider
“It’s immediately clear how effortlessly this consummate actress channels early-20th-century French novelist Colette…Holt simply embodies the rebellious character in all her (ever-so-French) self-confidence, vulnerability and sensual charm.” –SF Examiner
“Lorri Holt is outstanding as Colette…she makes her storytelling so natural that you actually feel like it’s a conversation just with you.” –Talkin’ Broadway
“A breathtaking hour and fifteen minutes. I dare you to take your eyes off this worldly femme fatale with the musical accent.” -–Theatre Storm
“Lorri Holt IS Colette! With her flawless French accent, Holt gives us an unforgettable depiction of this remarkable actress, mime, author, and raconteuse. Ms. Holt vibrantly presents Colette’s gifts for story telling, social commentary and humor.” –BATCC
Lorri Holt (actor, playwright) has been a leading actress in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than three decades, working for Berkeley Rep, ACT, The Aurora, The Magic, Marin Theatre Company, SF Playhouse, and many others. Most recently, she originated the role of Joyce Rumsfield in Cutting Ball Theater’s critically acclaimed production of Mount Misery by Andrew Saito. Other recent credits include Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike at Berkeley Rep, Ella in Curse of the Starving Class at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, and Susan in Becky Shaw at SF Playhouse. For ten years, she was a leading actress with San Francisco’s acclaimed Eureka Theatre, where she originated the role of Harper Pitt in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. Regional and international credits include work at Birmingham Rep in England, the Barbican Theatre in London, La Jolla Playhouse, and Actors Theater of Louisville. Most recent film credit is Josh Kornbluth’s new film, Love and Taxes. Lorri holds a BA in dramatic art from UC Berkeley and an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College, and has received honors and awards for both her acting and her published short stories. This is her first solo show.
Zack Rogow (playwright) is the author, editor, or translator of twenty books or plays. His translations from French include the novel Green Wheat by Colette. His adaptation and translation of the play Marius by Marcel Pagnol was produced by the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley and by the Storm Theatre in New York. He is writing a series of plays that incorporate the works of authors into their life stories, including Things I Didn’t Know I Loved, about the Turkish writer Nazim Hikmet, which had staged readings in Berkeley directed by Barbara Oliver; and at the annual AWP conference. Carleton College and University of Alaska have hosted readings of his play Tangled Love, about the Japanese woman poet Yosano Akiko. his play La Vie en Noir about Senegalese poet Léopold Sédar Senghor had a staged reading performed by the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in San Francisco. Rogow has received the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Award for his co-translation of André Breton’s Earthlight, and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Translation Award for his English version of George Sand’s Horace. He is an associate faculty member in the low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing program at the University of Alaska Anchorage.