Master Works: The Van Gogh Plays Run 5/2-5 in Chicago
Commedia Beauregard, a Chicago-based non-profit theater company, has announced the premiere of Master Works: The Van Gogh Plays, a festival of short plays based on works by Vincent Van Gogh, at Raven Theatre from May 2 to 5.
Stabbings, weddings, manifestos, and a post-apocalyptic wasteland. These are a few things that happen when Commedia Beauregard's Master Works series once again brings fine art to life. This time six Van Gogh paintings were chosen: Night Cafe, The Man is at Sea, Skull with Burning Cigarette, Undergrowth with Two Figures, Doctor Gachet, and The Drinkers (which can be seen at the Art Institute of Chicago). Six locally & nationally recognized Chicago playwrights then brought their imaginations to bear and created an original play based on the painting they were assigned. Finally, Commedia Beauregard chose six up-and-coming directors to take these new works and bring them to life on stage. Now see these short plays presented together back-to-back in Master Works: The Van Gogh Plays. Like the great painter himself, it promises to be an inspiring blend of genius and insanity!
"Work with adaptation always begins with thorough investigation of the source material," said playwright Jason Lindner. "I study it and roll it over in my fists - particularly what emotion it invokes in me. Then I make sure to throw it away - hard - before I get obsessed with it. Becoming lost in the details of a source is a sure fire way to deflate your play possibilities. When drawing from a painting, for example, you may choose to write something based exactly on the scene as it is presented - name the subjects and create a scenario for their placement, but to me that is limiting. I am far more interested in the emotion that the scene creates and what it turns over within the bacterial fage of my gut."
"For me, translating a painting into a play felt like free association while staring at a 'Magic Eye,'" said playwright Alberto Mendoza. "Then, after looking long enough, closing my eyes and telling a story about the afterimage. I knew my first instinct would be to tell the story of the painting, posit what Van Gogh intended, and knew that would be a waste of an opportunity. I made sure to get out all of my first thoughts, find the common themes, and then throw everything else away. This experience reminded me that adaptation is at the root of every piece of art and that 'original' should always appear in quotations."
According to Mexican poet Octavio Paz, "Translation is an art of analogy, the art of finding correspondences," and Master Works is one more way in which Commedia Beauregard follows its mission of exploring cultures through the art of translation.
Master Works: The Van Gogh Plays
New plays by Ellen Cribbs, Christopher Kidder-Mostrom, Rory Leahy, Jason Lindner, Alberto Mendoza, and Sean Margaret Wagner.
Directed by Niki Dreistadt, Celia Forrest, Toma Langston, Richard Paro, Erik Parsons, and Brittany Westfall.
Thursday, May 2 @ 8pm,
Friday, May 3 @ 8pm,
Saturday, May 4 @ 8pm,
Sunday, May 5 @ 3:30pm.
Raven Theatre Complex - West Theatre, 6157 N Clark St (at Granville Ave), Chicago, IL 60660.
$15 tickets are available at 800.838.3006 or CBTheatre.org.