Exhibit This! - The Museum Comedies
Written by Luigi Jannuzzi
Directed by Elizabeth Rothan*
The Metropolitan Theatre Company (www.luigijannuzzi.com/work10.htm)
WorkShop Theater MainStage,
Midtown International Theatre Festival (www.midtownfestival.org for showtimes)
Equity showcase (closes
Review by Deborah S. Greenhut
This witty collage of monologues and short plays is a reminder of both familiar people and artwork. When least expected, though, the work suddenly elevates the audience from its warm, romantic frame to a profound philosophical thought. Playwright Luigi Jannuzzi’s comic sensibility is a delight, and some of the parts exceed the whole.
Rothan ably assumes the task of creating continuity among the far-ranging
works of art, including everything from a romantic interlude between two Renoir
portraits, exceptionally well-presented by actors Kristin Carter and Joseph
Franchini, the subjects of fickle admiration by two humans (
The Museum Comedies dares to ask the question: “Who wants to see Cats?” Indeed! Jannuzzi also exhibits his skill at animated sculpture in a send up called, “Oh Those Antiquities,” featuring Memisabu (Bruce Barton) and his wife (Dawn McGee), who strike an absurdist classical pose in a toga moment. As the German curator, Charles F. Wagner IV served up a comic lesson on Seurat’s pointillism. Every aspect of museum- going is covered, so to speak—even Lucian Freud’s ‘Naked Man—Back View’. Truth and beauty fall casualty to “the big lie,” as delivered by a pitiable wannabe artist (Perryn Pomatto), who bribes a guard to pass off a Sistine Chapel piece as his own. Pierre Bonnard’s The Terrace at Vernonnet offers a contemplative solo moment for a reprise of Bruce Barton to ask the timeless question, “Who is the artist?” Ever the cheeky playwright, Jannuzzi’s voice pokes through the canvas, remarking, “You’d be amazed by what audiences will put up with.”
The set, design offers projection technology onto a slightly wrinkled sheet, but the idea of the work was amply conveyed and the director made great use of the entire house to define the frames. Costumes evoke the periods of the art works effectively and simply. Lighting harmonizes with the mood. The ensemble cast also features Dustin C. Burrell and Peter Stoll.
Luigi Jannuzzi is a much-acclaimed playwright, and Exhibit This! has already received its share of honors, not the least of which is forthcoming publication by Samuel French. His play, All the King’s Women, serves up a collection of Elvis-enamored women on another stage during this season’s Midtown International Fringe Festival.
Audiences don’t have to know art to appreciate this play. But they’ll know what they like when it’s over!
Copyright 2007 by Deborah S. Greenhut
Return to Volume Thirteen, Number Seven Index
Return to Volume Thirteen Index
Return to Home Page