Jo Harvey Allen, “Hally Lou”

Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, sponsored by the California Institute Of The Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art

The reviews of Jo Harvey Allen’s one-act play about a would-be evangelist, Hally Lou, like those of last year’s Counter Angel, are sprinkled with the words “real,” “genuine,” and “authentic.” Hally Lou brings to the art world a kind of person, particularly a kind of woman, who seldom appears in that locale. And, the reviewers note, the artist shares her origins and her accent: like Hally Lou and Ruby Kay, the truck-stop waitress of Counter Angel, Allen hails from where Charles Kuralt goes “on the road” and where NBC finds “real people”—that is, from where authenticity and genuineness are a function of geography.

Allen may come from Lubbock, Texas, and live in Fresno, but finally she’s closer to the purveyors and producers of the real, to those who represent, than to those she portrays. She plays the title role in this performance, the wife of a poor itinerant preacher. The name “Hally Lou

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