The Girl Who Jumped Off the Hollywood Sign
Assembly George Square Studios
Aug 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 (11:45)
Script: Stagecraft: Performance:
Joanne Hartstone is a theatrical renegade, a portrait painter of niche figures, out of which creations she pulls out a composite blend of her own humanity & that of the planet at large – & all for our entertainment. Australian by birth & upbringing, in this instance Joanne has donn’d the masque of a meteor-eyed American actress, trying to break Hollywood in the mid-twentieth century.
It is a revealing commentary on America’s Dream Factory, from a point of view rarely observed
Read the full interview
Her name is Evie Edwards, & the setting is at the top of the ‘H’ of the Hollywood Sign where she has climbed to look back on just how she ended up at this point in her life. We’ve all been there, or somewhere like there at some point. The real life inspiration is that of a certain actress called Peg Entwistle, who leapt from the H in 1932. The Girl Who Jumped Off the Hollywood Sign is then a platform for Hartstone’s impeccable sense of historicity & the mammoth study that goes into the recreation of the past. But then, of course, she must turn that into entertainment, just as Shakespeare looked up from his well-thumb’d copy of Plutarch’s ‘Lives’ & got busy with his Roman plays.
Let us then follow Hartstone’s hologramatic Evie through her life, from the poverty of a Hooverville to the unwanted advances of Hollywood execs. With a subtly splendid set & lighting created by Tom Kitney, & punctuated by authentic songstress blossoms from the era, Hartstone’s performance seems as if she were the shepherdess of our mental images, herding us all into her intellectual craftsmanship without protest. All in all a terrific & entertaining time capsule which flies on feather’d nostalgia.