James Tiptree Jr. is quick-witted, sharp-tongued, 'ineluctably masculine' celebrated science fiction writer, and first female photo intelligence officer for the US army. His name was born from a jar of marmalade.
Headpictures gracefully tells the compelling story of the extraordinary talent of Alice Sheldon, better known as Tiptree; the American writer who redefined the science fiction genre, and the reader's concept of masculinity in literature at the same time. This one-woman show is a beautifully simple set-up; sometimes Tiptree is more Tiptree and sometimes they are more Alice - but they speak with such fluency and sophistication that they're simultaneously suave and coarse-mammered, all the more charismatic for the both.
At times Tiptree's story is comical, at times poignant, spanning Alice's days at finishing school and the turbulent first marriage in her youth, to her role in the US army as a photo intelligence officer, to her discovery of a hugely successful literary voice under Tiptree's name.
The show acts as a wonderfully engaging performative biography, and asks us where our identity lies when we change our name, our signature, our gender - what voice is it we all have in common, and what is it that truly needs to be said?