Apr 06-Apr 15, 2007
No Strings Theatre Company presents the critically-acclaimed, off-Broadway hit play "Woman Before A Glass," written by Lanie Robertson and directed by No Strings Theatre Company's Artistic Director, Ceil Herman. The play opens Friday, April 6 and runs through Sunday, April 15, 2007 at the Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Downtown Mall in Las Cruces. Tickets are $9 for adults, $8 students and seniors over 65. All seats on Thursday are $6.
The play stars Toni Marie in this one-woman show as Peggy Guggenheim (1898-1979), who amassed one of the world's great collections of abstract and surrealist art. Toni Marie, seen in NSTC's "Aunt Raini" and "Belle of Amherst," plays the role of Peggy Guggenheim in this fascinating, hilarious, and poignant portrayal of a woman who lived an outrageous life style while encouraging the development of modern art. "Smoking, drinking, name-dropping, art, men, and the men who make art...introduces us to the sensational history of Ms Guggenheim." (NY Times).
Guggenheim's life is a rich text for the play. She was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down with the Titanic in 1912. During World War II Guggenheim had to flee Paris, smuggling her art collection abroad, to avoid the Nazis. Guggenheim is credited with advancing the careers of numerous artists, including painter Jackson Pollack, poet Ada Verdun Howell and Max Ernst, whom Guggenheim married in 1942. She knew many other great artists, and mentions many of them in the play, including Truman Capote and Pablo Picasso.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, located in Guggenheim's former home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal in Venice, is considered the most important museum in Italy for European and American art of the first half of the 20th century. It is, in fact, in Guggenheim's Venice home that "Woman Before A Glass" opens in 1962, as Guggenheim prepares for a television interview and a major honor from the Italian government.
"Woman Before A Glass" opened at the Promenade Theatre in New York City on March 10, 2005. Actress Mercedes Ruehl received an Obie award for her performance as Guggenheim in the off-Broadway production.
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Art lives on at the Black Box
'Woman Before a Glass' reveals Peggy Guggenheim
- By Joel Courtney, Las Cruces Bulletin
The No Strings Theatre Company opened their latest production, "Woman Before a Glass " by Lane Robertson and directed by Ceil Herman, on Friday, April 6.
The story of "Woman Before a Glass ," a one-woman show, details several moments in the later years of Peggy Guggenheim's life.
Bringing the larger-than-life personality of Guggenheim to the stage is the larger-than-life presentation by Toni Marie.
Guggenheim, who is most well known for her collection of 176 pieces of modern art housed in her Venetian Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, discusses some of the most important events in her life from her own perspective.
Guggenheim jumps from topic to topic as she addresses the audience.
The most common theme of her discussion is where "her children" (her famous art collection) will be housed after her death.
Tragedies abound in Guggenheim's life, from the death of her father aboard the Titanic and the death of her oldest and favorite sister during childbirth, to run ins with the Nazis in her attempt to escape Paris with her beloved collection.
After hearing of Guggenheim's relationship with her father and the devastation caused by his passing, you begin to understand more about why this wealthy woman goes through men like someone with a cold would go through tissues.
She seems to spend the majority of her life looking to connect with another person, and failing at that, tries to connect to the world of modern art, which Samuel Beckett had described to her as "alive."
Her two children, Sinbad and Pegeen, come from her marriage to Lawrence Vail. Later, Guggenheim married painter Max Ernst. Throughout the performance though, she only speaks kindly of her "soldier boy," John Holmes, who loved all of her, even her nose.
Most noticeably, Guggenheim seems to sabotage her own relationships, often having affairs outside of her two marriages and even sleeping with her daughter's husband, which prompts one of Pegeen's suicide attempts.
The show concludes with Guggenheim drifting in a gondola on a Venice waterway as the "moon reflects in her eyes." The scene approaches the artistic beauty that Guggenheim seeks so intuitively.
Although the story, which tells of a lonely, yet very wealthy woman , may seem not enough to deserve a onewoman show, it is Marie that gives the character the life to last through the four acts of "Woman Before a Glass ."
Half soap opera and half history lesson, the show would be nothing without Marie's explosive personality and ability to say the lewdest things without batting an eye. Despite bringing the extroverted part of Guggenheim's personality to the forefront, Marie also captures the pain of all of Guggenheim's losses.
Marie has amazingly held this character in since the original performances in December were cancelled due to her illness. The extra time with the character showed in the quality of her performance, but it also seemed to relieve her to finally let that character flow out of her.
This show goes into a long line of great one-person shows from NSTC. Don't miss this great night of theater, but you will definitely want to leave the children at home.
Art collector on display
- -, Sun News Report
No Strings Theatre Company presents Lanie Robertson's off-Broadway hit "Woman Before a Glass" directed by NSTC's artistic director, Ceil Herman. The play opens tonight and runs through April 15 at the Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Downtown Mall.
Toni Marie, seen in NSTC's "Aunt Raini" and "Belle of Amherst," plays the role of modern art collector Peggy Guggenheim, niece of Guggenheim Museum founder Solomon Guggenheim. She was famous for her foul mouth and extensive art collection, which included 10 Picassos, 40 Ernsts, eight Mirós, four Magrittes, three Man Rays, three Dalís, one Klee and one Chagall.
Mercedes Ruehl won an Obie award for her portrayal of Guggenheim at New York's Promenade Theater in 2005. The one-woman show focuses on Guggenheim's later life, as she searches for a home for her collection.
The NSTC production was originally scheduled to run Dec. 29 through Jan. 14, but was postponed.
No seating plan has been posted.
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