Julia Steele Allen's one woman show Little Tainted Blood is a poignant meditation on shame and its impact on three generations of her family. Allen sets up this autobiographical performance piece through her family's past using video and audio clips while she reacts to and interacts with what's being shown or heard. A couple of times she sings to the audience, which is especially effective during the final part of the show.
Allen's family were Hungarian Jews uprooted by the Holocaust who ended up in Palestine and Egypt. They buried their Jewish identity and history and never reclaimed it. Her father was a closeted gay man. She too, is gay and is the first one in her family in the U.S. to claim her Jewish heritage. The themes of denying one's identity and true self because of shame lay on the surface of this work like a festering wound but the strength of Allen's work is that it never becomes maudlin or self-pitying. It's one woman's journey to expose her own truth and embrace it while making the audience understand that these stories, this family, these hidden shames could just as easily be found in the mirror, regardless of whether that mirror is in Texas or Hungary.
Allen will perform it 5 more times at the Exit Theater, 156 Eddy St., San Francisco:
Sat Sept 11 1:00 PM
Sun Sept 12 6:00 PM
Mon Sept 13 8:30 PM
Tues Sept 14 10:00 PM
Sat Sept 18 2:30 PM