It is January 1919 in Vitebsk, Russia. Marc Chagall is in charge of the Vitebsk People’s Art College. The school is free to attend because of funds from the government. He has hired a strong group of artists to teach. They have deep conversations about the nature of art and the way to teach it. Disagreements arise and the future of the school and who will run it are up in the air.
James Sherman (Beau Jest) has written a great historical play. It is very funny, especially the scenes about painting on another artist’s canvas. It is also very thoughtful and interesting as they discuss the deep nature and meaning of art. They project images of the pieces by the artists on the back of the set which is a great touch. It’s well deserving that it sold out many nights of the performance.
John Drea is great as Marc Chagall, who is an idealist about the potential of this new school. Yourtana Sulaiman is excellent as the wife of Chagall, who supports him greatly in his profession. Fred A Wellisch is great as Yuri Pen, the eldest of teachers and a master of the classical style of teaching. Myles Schwarz is exceptional as El Lissitzky who is very passionate about Suprematism. He is very insistent that Kazimir Malevich, the founder of Suprematism, played by Gavin Wolfe Van Dernoot, join the school. The rest of the teachers are solid and include Peter Ferneding is as Alexander Romm. Daniella Rukin as Vera Ermolaeva, and David Lipshutz as David Yackerson.
For more information, check out Grippo Stage Company’s website.
Cost of a ticket: $42
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother