Nicely framed


Exhibit This! - The Museum Comedies


Written by Luigi Jannuzzi

Directed by Elizabeth Rothan*

The Metropolitan Theatre Company (

WorkShop Theater MainStage, 312 West 36th Street (4th floor)

Midtown International Theatre Festival ( for showtimes)

Equity showcase (closes August 4, 2007)

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.


Director Elizabeth 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 (Billy Lane and Emily Beatty) who suddenly find each other more attractive. When they ditch the museum, the fun begins, and the frame’s the limit for “Love among the Impressionists.” The ensemble cast offered delightful humor, playing humans and artifacts with great skill, led on a misguided tour by the hilariously neurotic guide, Jasmin Singer who reprises this role throughout the collection. As The Penitent Magdelen, Carter offers a second strong performance in scene 5.


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!



Box Score:


Writing: 2

Directing: 2

Acting: 2

Sets: 1

Costumes: 2

Lighting/Sound: 2



Copyright 2007 by Deborah S. Greenhut



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