Gas & Electric Arts’ provides snapshots from Lee Miller’s life and career

Kittson O’Neill stars as Lee Miller in Gas & Electric Arts’ “Behind the Eye.”

Lee Miller was responsible for some of the 20th century’s most striking images, both in front of and behind the camera. She began her remarkable career as a New York fashion model, apprenticed under (and modeled for) surrealist master Man Ray and shot stirring images of the London blitz and the liberation of Dachau as a war correspondent for Vogue magazine.

Gas & Electric Arts will bring Miller’s amazing but tragically little-known story to the stage in “Behind the Eye,” a Philadelphia premiere by playwright Carson Kreitzer. Director Lisa Jo Epstein describes the play as “beautiful and elegant and surprising and surreal” — appropriate for a life as unique as Miller’s.

The set design draws influence from Miller’s work and life. “We’re hoping to conjure the feel of her photographs without ever directly depicting them,” Epstein says. And Miller’s surrealist ties are referenced by set pieces that “constantly transform from the mundane to the extraordinary and back again.”

For a character this complex, Kreitzer took a less linear approach to depicting Miller. “It’s not a straightforward biopic,” Epstein says. “It’s a really fascinating mosaic of snapshots from her life. The play gives the character Lee the opportunity to resee and reframe the picture of who she is.”

If you go
   
‘Behind the Eye’
Thursday-Nov. 18
Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre
2111 Sansom St.
$16-$25, 215-407-0556
www.gasandelectricarts.org


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