Friday, September 11, 2009

The Credeaux Canvas (The Bridge Theatre)

BOTTTOM LINE: A beautiful play by an exciting new theatre company.

The newly formed The Seeing Place Theatre Company’s mission statement proclaims they "want to produce theatre we all want to believe in,” and they fully succeed with their inaugural production of Keith Bunin’s The Credeaux Canvas. It tells the tale of a group of twentysomethigs who are striving to fulfill their dreams while struggling to pay the rent in a dumpy lower east side apartment. It seems like a classic New York Story: struggling artists, a fledgling singer, and a floundering real estate agent trying to find himself wax over what it means to be happy in this often brutal city. From written tests to get menial food service jobs to surviving on ramen noodles prepared in dishes washed in the bathtub these three are getting by fine until one of them is left out of his extremely wealthy father’s will and hits rock bottom. His plan is to have his extremely talented roommate paint a forged nude portrait of his girlfriend to try to pawn off for millions to a wealthy, seemingly clueless, socialite and the results will test the boundaries of their relationships and drastically alter their lives forever.

This is a great play. Anyone who is paying the bills by doing a job that they might hate a little or knows someone who is in a similar situation will find more than enough to relate to in this production. And let’s face it, that is pretty much anyone in New York City. The discoveries about what it means to be in your late twenties facing a future that might not, in fact, be full of the endless possibilities that we hopes for as children are poignant are handled very well under the direction of Lillian Wright, who also does double duty as scenic designer creating a very efficient and inventive set for the intimate stage at the Bridge Theatre. The performances are terrific as well. Brandon Walker and Anna Marie Sell fearlessly tackle their challenging roles; Joseph Mancuso is heartbreaking in his portrayal of a man desperate to have a family and be successful; but the unexpected star of the production is Jerilyn Wright who steals the one scene she appears in by creating moments of such truth and heartache with perfect ease and grace.

This is what off-off Broadway theatre is about. A great play. A good cast. A small intimate venue. The work is good and the message meaningful. The Seeing Place Theatre succeeded with their mission to produce theatre that this writer wants to believe. They are definitely a company to watch and I’m excited to see what this company has in store for the future. If you are looking for a moving night at the theatre, check out The Credeaux Canvas. I warn you, it is definitely a drama, so don’t go if you are looking for a light-hearted romp. But if you are just looking for a damn good play this is for you. It has love, angst, greed, art, cool music, and a little bit of tasteful nudity. What’s not to love?

(The Credeaux Canvas performs September 11th at 8pm, September 12th 2pm and 8pm, and September 13th at 3pm at The Bridge Theatre, 244 W 54th Street, 12th floor. Tickets are $18, available at For more info:

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