Nimoy's "Vincent" Graces Mammoth's Canvas
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alt2014 January 21

“He’s a wonderful actor, very serious about what he does, and does a beautiful job with this play,” Nimoy said in a recent interview. “It is Theo who has called together these people, this audience to ask them to give him a second chance to talk about his brother, who he loves so much. And that’s what makes the piece I think very touching and very powerful.”

One-Man show a rare must see theatrical experience
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By: The Official Blog of Mammoth Lakes 

(Thanks to Bobbie for finding and sharing this link) 

 

In the world of live theater, one-man shows are scarce, in large part because they’re hard to stage. First, there’s the challenge of only one cast member carrying the whole show, and if that’s not enough, you need material that can be conveyed engagingly by a single actor.

There have been a few notable exceptions: Spalding Gray’s popular series of narratives, Lily Tomlin’s acclaimed “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe” and Patrick Stewart’s heralded holiday hit version of “A Christmas Carol.”

To that list, you can add renowned writer, director, poet, musician and photographer Leonard Nimoy’s critically lauded “Vincent,” which opens Jan. 17 for two very special and exclusive performances at Mammoth’s Edison Theatre.

Written and first performed in 1981 by Nimoy, “Vincent” presents a refreshingly different take on the life and death of Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. Suffice to say that Vincent’s life was every bit as enigmatic as his now famous paintings. In “Vincent,” Nimoy set out to talk about the controversial artist and his work in terms other than just the usual clichés of the artist’s reputation for being high-maintenance, emotionally tortured and of questionable sanity, not to mention the historically infamous self-mutilation of his own ear.

Shortly after Vincent’s death in 1890, rumors about him run rampant around Paris. Many disparage the artist as a penniless madman who fancied prostitutes, and a soon-to-be-forgotten artist of trifling quality, whose lunacy only led to him cutting off his aural appendage and taking his own life. The play is told from the perspective of Vincent’s art dealer brother Theo, who is tired of the controversy and speculation, and determined to set the record straight.

Nimoy has hand picked a remarkably talented successor in stage and screen veteran Jean-Michel Richaud as Theo. The actor, who grew up in Paris, boasts a considerable artistic pedigree that includes his MA from the Sorbonne University, and studies at Paris’s National Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts and Columbia University’s graduate theater program. A founding member of the award-winning The Next Arena theatre company, he’s appeared numerous times on film and TV, and is one of the most sought after voiceover talents in Los Angeles.

“He’s a wonderful actor, very serious about what he does, and does a beautiful job with this play,” Nimoy said in a recent interview. “It is Theo who has called together these people, this audience to ask them to give him a second chance to talk about his brother, who he loves so much. And that’s what makes the piece I think very touching and very powerful.”

Nowhere is that more obvious than Nimoy’s script, which is based on the hundreds of letters exchanged between the brothers during the 10 years Theo supported Vincent as he struggled with his art. Adding to the setting, more than 100 of Van Gogh's paintings are projected during the show, many thematically tied to parts of the play.

“This sounded like the ideal kind of production for our theatre,” Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Shira Dubrovner said. Dubrovner decided to bring the play to Mammoth after learning about Richaud’s 2012 production of it in Los Angeles, citing the subject matter and the unique one-man show format.

One-man shows, especially ones with this emotional and educational depth, are rare enough, and Mammoth Lakes is fortunate to play host to this production of “Vincent,” which the Los Angeles Times’ Philip Brandes called “insightful and often moving.” If you’re a fan of Mammoth’s arts scene, or just like great theatre, you owe it to yourself to get tickets to “Vincent.”

 
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