los-angeles

Rachel Rosenthal

UCLA Center for the Performing Arts

Living in fin-de-millénium California, I, like Rachel Rosenthal, have felt threatened by the seemingly random, vicious violence of contemporary life and have found myself obsessing about chaos, death, and human evil. A substantial orator and actress who moves like a dancer or a queen, Rosenthal—who plays the last Russian Czarina, Alexandra—intones throughout the chiliastic spectacle Zone, 1994, about the evils of human voracity and cruelty, epitomized by the Romanov family (“assholes in brocade” as Rosenthal puts it in her typical blunt fashion). At the same time, her nihilism is tempered by an anxious nostalgia. The Romanov family, all clad in diaphanous white, is attacked by the multicolored “Throngs” (a roiling crowd of anonymous people of color dressed in deep blues, blacks, grays, and purples); the Romanovs are finally murdered because they represent, as Rosenthal writes in the program

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