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A new rock musical will leave you with a good “post impression.”
Art history meets contemporary tunes in “Mass,” a new rock musical at the Brick Theater in Williamsburg about the tumultuous relationship between Post Impressionist luminaries, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.
But just because the show is about two of art history’s most famous men doesn’t mean it can’t have females playing the main roles.
“Frankly, I’m tired of story lines with men at the center while females serve as props to help them through their struggles,” said writer and director Robert Honeywell. “The love story between two women should be a normality, not an exception.”
In fact, the entire cast of “Mass” is female.
Actors Moira Stone and Esther Crow play the principal characters of Mary and Françoise, Van Gogh and Gauguin’s female alter egos. An androgynous Bowie-lookalike, Stone’s stage presence is indispensable to the lead role. Ironically, the actress felt quite the opposite prior to production.
“I tried backing out several times, going so far as to tell Robert he’d made a mistake in casting me. But Robert was steadfast. I decided to close my eyes and jump. I’m so glad I did!” said Stone.
Honeywell was seduced by the idea of a rock musical inspired by Van Gogh, and studied the subject matter thoroughly for two years, even attending art history classes at Manhattan’s Musuem of Modern Art.
Art enthusiasts will delight in myriad references to art history. The script touches on topics such as Marcel du Champ’s ground-breaking “Fountain” and Van Gogh’s literal interpretation of lending an ear. And although the characters are based on renowned personalities from the 1800s, listening to them rant is strikingly similar to hearing your artist friends complain about their struggles.
That said, much of the wit in “Mass” doesn’t require a degree in art history.
When Van Gogh tries to convince Gauguin to migrate to Montreal, Gauguin argues that she doesn’t speak French.
“But you’re Canadian,” Van Gogh replies.
“Mass” at the Brick Theater [579 Metropolitan Ave. at Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, (718) 285–3863, www.bricktheater.com] April 13–30, Tues. and Thurs.–Sat., 8 pm, Sun., 3 pm, $18.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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