Edward Albee's OCCUPANT Comes To Burchfield Penney
The Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo State in collaboration with SuiteCase Productions will present Occupant, a play by Edward Albee for two performances Friday, March 29 - Saturday, March 30, 8 pm, in the Center's Tower auditorium. Tickets are $20 each; $10 for Burchfield Penney members. For reservations, please call (716) 878-6011 during museum hours.
Written in 2001, the play repeatedly addresses themes of reality versus illusion, and the reliability of memory. Occupant also explores feminist and Jewish identity, highlighting the challenges American sculptor Louise Nevelson faced as a Jewish woman in the art world.
Personified by Buffalo veteran stage actress Christina Rausa, Nevelson and her mysterious interviewer let the sparks fly in this bio-drama as only Edward Albee could have written it. The dialogue crackles as Nevelson works to control her own myth while the interviewer-known only as "the Man,"-probes for a glimpse of the true person behind the legend. In the process, Albee's characters wrestle with deep questions about art, artists, and the act of becoming. Actor Daniel Lendzian portrays 'The Man'.
The play traces Nevelson's development as a Jewish immigrant from Kiev growing up in Rockland, Maine, to her becoming one of the leading figures in American art during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Albee was her close friend throughout this period, until her death in 1988. Occupant premiered at the Signature Theater Company in New York in 2008, with Mercedes Ruehl as Nevelson and Larry Bryggman as The Man.
Christina Rausa has performed other larger-than-life personalities such as Maria Callas (Master Class), Golda Meir (Golda's Balcony), and Susan B. Anthony (Susan B. Anthony Alive!). Lendzian was seen in Buffalo most recently in Little Shop of Horrors and The Betsy Charmichael Christmas Special.
Established in 1966 on the campus of SUNY Buffalo State, the Burchfield Penney Art Center is dedicated to the art and vision of renowned American watercolorist Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967) and the distinguished artists of Western New York State.
In 2008, The Center opened a $36 million freestanding facility in the heart of Buffalo's Museum District. Designed by Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects, the museum includes more than 84,000 square feet dedicated primarily to galleries, as well as education and program space. It is home to the world's largest collection of artwork and ephemera by Burchfield and a collection of more than 8,000 works by over 850 artists. The Burchfield Penney was the first LEED-certified art museum in New York State and
was featured by travel editors of the New York Times as one of the "44 Places to Go in 2009."
In 2016, the Burchfield Penney Art Center celebrates 50 years as the Museum for Western New York Arts. The year is highlighted by groundbreaking exhibitions, dynamic programming, aggressive collecting and celebration of the cultural legacy of the region.