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What We Found There: Preludes To Madness, Fugues of Frenzy

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The Son of Semele ensemble is one place where Los Angeles theater audiences can always expect the unexpected. We were prepared for physical theatre, innovative sets, political statements, sex and poetry, when we went to see John Glore's new play Preludes and Fugues at SOSE last Monday. We didn't know we would have already seen part of the production!

Glore is the author, among other works, of a strange and beautiful one-act play, What She Found There, about Celia, the girl who comes out of Looking-Glass World when Alice goes in, and what she tells a hazardous-waste truck driver in our world after she screws him. We first saw this oneact in a high school acting workshop, years ago. In his collaboration with SOSE, Glore decided to interpolate the entire text of What She Found There halfway through Preludes and Fugues as one of the strange dreams of his characters.

Like a composer returning to an old theme, Glore brings back Celia, and the result is astonishing. Four musicians, nervous to the point of hallucination about a string quartet they have to perform tomorrow, embark upon a night of nightmares, sex dreams, mistaken identities, car chases, drinking, and tears. Some of them meet Alice. One finds himself reborn as his dead daughter. One relives Eve's decision to eat the apple, and another becomes Satan and the snake. One dreams, horribly, of having lost his cat. What results is a psychological phantasmagoria of the four artists' minds, and an original, frightening and inspiring piece of avant-garde writing.