Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017
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Music-Theater-Dance

PEACH WEEKENDER | THEATER

‘Bauer’ follows artist’s often trying life

  • Bauer-PR-pic-jpg

    Anne Cross, John DuVall, and Cindy Bilby are featured in the Actors Collaborative Toledo’s reading of ‘Bauer.’

    Jeffrey Albright

  • Irizarry-Hord-Brown-JPG

    Nelson Irizarry, left, Brandon Hord, and Aaron Brown star in the Fremont Community Theatre’s production of ‘And Then There Were None.’

Actors Collaborative Toledo will present a reading of Bauer, a play of the life and often difficult times of the artist Rudolf Bauer in the Toledo Museum of Art’s Little Theater on March 23.

It will be the work’s northwest Ohio premiere. Playwright Lauren Gunderson was commissioned to write Bauer by the San Francisco Playhouse in 2014.

Bauer, a widely renowned abstract artist in the 1930s who was considered one of the originators of nonobjective art, had a tumultuous life.

He was imprisoned by the Nazis for creating “degenerate art,” but he kept sketching on scraps of paper in the prison camp, according to a 2014 San Francisco Examiner article on the play and an exhibit of Bauer’s work. He was championed by Solomon Guggenheim and played a role in the development of the Guggenheim Museum. He had a longtime love affair with Hilla Rebay, a baroness who was one of Guggenheim’s trusted curators, but eventually married his maid, Louise. Bauer stopped painting because of a conflict with Guggenheim and Rebay; he believed she tricked him into signing a contract that gave Guggenheim rights to his paintings.

By the 1950s, Bauer’s art was all but forgotten.

The cast features John DuVall as Bauer, Anne Cross as Louise, and Cindy Bilby as Hilla Rebay.

“I think it’s a beautiful story of how our passion in art can be stymied by commercialism,” said Jeffrey J. Albright, who is directing the Collaborative’s performance. “Bauer just wanted to paint, [but] everything he painted became a commodity. When he found out anything he painted would belong to the Guggenheim, he stopped painting.”

Bauer will be performed at 7 p.m. March 23 in the Little Theatre of the Toledo Museum of Art. There is no admission charge.

Christie in Fremont

And Then There Were None, a classic Agatha Christie murder mystery, will be presented by the Fremont Community Theatre in six performances beginning Friday.

The story first appeared as one of Christie’s novels, published in the United Kingdom in 1930 and in the United States in 1939. The author adapted it for the stage, and the play opened in London in 1943.

The story, set in the late 1930s, begins when eight people arrive on an isolated island off England’s coast. They have been brought there through invitations designed to appeal to their individual circumstances. They are met by the butler and his wife, who is the cook and housekeeper. But the couple’s employer and his wife are nowhere to be found.

Soon each of the 10 is accused of a crime, and one by one they are murdered, following the methods described in a children’s nursery rhyme.

The play was chosen by audiences attending last season’s shows who voted by ballots listing potential shows.

And Then There Were None is appealing because many people are familiar with the story, and it is well-adapted to the stage, Fremont’s director, Diane Cepeda, said. “The adaptation is so good, everything you need is there ... the book works, even the blocking (working out the details of the 11 actors’ moves onstage) works.”

Fremont’s production will feature the play’s alternate ending, Cepeda added, which is the novel’s original ending. Christie had written a new ending for the stage version because she thought it would be more appealing than the novel’s conclusion, then changed her mind and made the restoration of the original an option.

The cast includes Mike Amos, Kyleigh Lash, Aaron Brown, Sarah Engeman, Brandon Hord, Bethany Wethington-Maxey, and Dion Wilson, all of Fremont; Judy Smith of Oak Harbor, and Nelson Irizarry, Mike Magnuson, and Linda Rich, of Gibsonburg, Ohio. Assisting the director is Dion Wilson.

And Then There Were None will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Fremont Community Theatre, 1551 Dickenson St., next to the Vanguard Vocational School in Fremont. Additional shows are at 7:30 p.m. March 24-25 and 2 p.m. March 26. Tickets are $15 general admission, and $12 for seniors and students. For reservations call 419-332-0695.

Contact Sue Brickey at: sbrickey@theblade.com.

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