Wednesday, October 24, 2012
I had too step out of an artist talk back with United Arts President and CEO, Floria Maria Garcia, at Urban ReThink about the state of the arts in Orlando. It was a hot topic on which I have plenty of opinions but little time to express them. I rushed over to Church Street and sat in the very back row of the brand new Harriet Theater to see the Mad Cow Theater production of Sunday in the Park With George. The lobby is magnificent with a large plate glass window view overlooking Church Street. The new theater offers roomier seating but the low office building ceilings offer a challenge since it limits the height of the stage sets. The stage was a blank canvas. White panels were arranged accordion style across the back of the stage. Executive Director, Mitzi Maxwell, introduced the play which she called Stephen Sondheim's tribute to creativity. I first saw the play in 1983 in New York City, and I fell in love with it. I would often play the cassette tape soundtrack as I painted until the audio tape eventually stretched and broke. Change is inevitable as we move on.
When George Seurat, played by Matt Horohoe, started sketching, Dot, played by Hannah Laird, the white panels were removed by actors in period costume to uncover Lisa Bucks wonderful painted rendition of the Island of La Grande Jatte. The play follows George's life and creative process as he creates a huge canvas celebrating a Sunday in the park. His relationship wit Dot becomes strained as he looses himself in his work. This stage production brought back all the joy and emotions from the show I first experienced in New York City. Now that I am older and obsessed with capturing life, I better understand George Seurat.
In my sketch, I tried to assemble the cast in a fair approximation of where they were in George's final composition. Since the composition was finalized for only a short moment, I didn't catch every character. Like any urban sketch done on location, I placed figures where they best balanced out the composition I was assembling. I placed George Seurat where the monkey would be found in his painting. The second act isn't as strong as the first, but it features my favorite song, Art isn't Easy! I absolutely loved this show, and the cast did an astounding job of keeping up with Sondheim's fast paced lyrics. The show continues through October 28th. Performances are selling out so get your tickets now! As I got up to leave my pencil sharpener fell out of my lap and crashed to the floor. It popped open spilling pencil shavings everywhere. Embarrassed, I picked up a few with my fingers but decided a vacuum would hopefully pick up the delicate curled shavings with little effort.
"White: a blank page or canvas. His favorite - so many possibilities."
- George Seurat