Monday, September 29, 2008


Photos by Ma'atology(except for logo)There were some killing moments with ‘Women’
By Ma’at Atkins

With female empowerment reaching the heights of power these days with Hilary Clinton and the like, it is a good time for women not only in politics but as well as in the arts (“Sex in the City The Movie” and the all female cast and behind the scenes film, The Women” are big indications of this).

On a local stage, Hot City Theatre is presenting “Killing Women,” an expressionist tale that gives you a taste of what female empowerment and in this case, a gun, can do to get a point across.

Actress Kine Brown plays femme fetale assassin, Lucy.
Directed by Wash U Performing Arts Professor William Whitaker and written by grad Marisa Wegryzn, “Women,” is a tragicomedy about a “hit woman” Abby (played by SLU grad Julie Layton) struggles to get promoted in a male-headed murder for hire. She also has to train a new hiree, a housewife named Gwen (played by Lauren Dusek) to kill a man that both had “six degrees” ties.

Staged at the Kranzberg Art Center, “Women” is entertaining as one gets to see a variety of women of different ethnicities and persuasions interact with each other and their heavy boss Ramone (played by Hot City vet Peter Meyer) in regards to their assassination duties. It gives you “The L Word” meets “Kill Bill” meets “Desperate Housewives’ and all of its ‘black comedy” juiciness (One of the funniest lines came from Layton’s character, who is very butch in leather gear, commented on training Gwen, when she said “When I was a flight attendant , do you know what I had to go through?”)

Brown and Julie Layton , who plays butch assassin Abby, in an intense scene from "Women"
Although Layton does a believable job as the hard shelled Abby (and is a definite shoo in for a Kevin Kline nod for Best Actress) , it is the other female characters, the femme fetale Lucy (played by Kine Brown) and the dowdy Gwen (played by Lauren Dusek) that shine in their roles and break the type of what a female assassin should look like.

LEFT: Brown, Layton and Lauren Dusek, who plays dowdy housewife Gwen, in a scene.

RIGHT: Brown in a phone scene.

LEFT: Dusek, Brown and Layton in a scene.

Although the male actors hold their own, they are mostly used as plot devices to move the story along (one in particular Adam Flores who plays three minor characters) as the actors move through each vignette styled scene on a Cubist styled, non traditional stage (Picture a colorful chess board with huge building blocks).

The only drawback is in Act Two where the ending could have been ended at a certain point of the play that would have made its point of women as successful assassins. The actual ending that is given, however, seemed a bit schmaltzy regarding he whole importance of female empowerment.

Overall, “Women” is definitely a tour de force for the female actors in this play.

Staged THRU October 4th
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays - 8PM
Sundays - 7PM
The Kranzberg Arts Center (in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Building), 501 North Grand For tickets call 314.289.4060 or

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