This season Broadway has big name film actors starring in stage dramas as it appears that the overhead for musicals is dearer than say the take home pay of say Susan Sarandon (who when she departs via the stage door after finishing a performance of Eugene Ionesco’s “Exit the King” is Susan Surrounded and when Geoffrey leaves not only is it Rush Hour but the King has exited or is exiting “Exit the King”). The names are legion besides Sarandon there is Jane Fonda, Marcia Gay Harden, Angela Lansbury, John Goodman, Rupert Everett , and James Galdofini just to name a few…And then there is “Impressionism” by Michael Jacobs and starring Jeremy Irons, Joan Allen , and Marsha Mason

My guest was initially supposed to be Neil Stevenson but he had attend to his duties at “The Sacred Path” in Portchester and then it was almost  Tom Orzo (of the Orzi) but he was off to limousine duty and so it was that Dr. Barnaby Ruhe walked over from the Fuller building to west 45h street to see a production dealing at least titularally with one of his favorie subjects, art.

It took a while for this work to warm up and at first it seemed as though there was not much stage chemsitry between Irons and Allen (and Irons stumbled over his lines a few times and sometime seemed as if bored).  The work took a while to get going and Dr. Ruhe agreed with me (or at least said that he did) that the other characters worked as modifiers to expand the realtionship of the two leads.  It was strange to see one of those personages played by Marsha Mason the multiple academy award nominee so many years beyond “The Goodbye Girl” now as a hefty art buyer who must have the couple’s Mary Cassatt {as the Allen character operates a consignment art gallery where she has hired Irons’ character to work}.

There are all types of devices throughout the play to bring the action around and there are five centerpieces (works that hang in the gallery)which are then used as a points and conterpoints of refrence and or action.  One is the Cassatt (an aquatint) one a Modigliani ( a hand colored drawing) one a Chagall, one a shot from Africa taken by the Irons character of a boy who he was to adopt who later died (where Irons had once worked on assignment for National Geographic), and one a picture by an artist for whom the Allen character had  modeled once.  Sometimes by choregraphed spatial recreations of scene similarities to paintings the main duos memories are brought to life intertwined by lines of dialogue questioning which art movement these characters lives have turnedout to be most like. In fact the drifiting light shows of impressionistic works and the movement into and out of them in focus and closeup is seemingly mirrored when Allen and Irons look at each other form a distance and decide that it is impressionism that their lives are like. Other Characters come in and wind up taking works , being given them, removing them from consignment , or buying them and then there is just one and that leads to the end a happy one and the couple there to enjoy it traveling to have it at least for the moment out of going out the door together alone.


In closing this itinerant blogger must say he enjoyed the lighting design when the stage was lit violet or totally awash in trasparency of a painting of Giverny by Monet.  And yes I once unexpectedly met Mr. Irons when making it in by ruse to the Matthew  Barney party at Guggenheim at the Oyster Bar in the escort of no less than Thomas Krens himself and there sitting at the counter was the portrayer of Claus Von Bulow and having had the oppurtunity of standing before him I repeated Antony Blanche’s line from Brideshead Revisited as if addressed to the character which made him a household name upon these shores ‘ChCh Charles you remind me of a young Ingres”

Until next time this is your itinerant blogger who shook the shack while running to the B52’ in the Hastings on the Hudson NYSC club today and remember there is no suburban Bloomingdales shopping woman who can bring this good man down.

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