Imago Theatre is closing out its 2012–2013 season this weekend with Beaux Arts Club, a new play written by Imago co-founder Carol Triffle. Curtain up: It is the evening of the annual Beaux Arts Club meeting, a club in which everyday American women meet to discuss fine art and literature in hopes of elevating their own creative endeavors.
Imago Theatre is closing out its 2012–2013 season this weekend with Beaux Arts Club, a new play written by Imago co-founder Carol Triffle.
Curtain up: It is the evening of the annual Beaux Arts Club meeting, a club in which everyday American women meet to discuss fine art and literature in hopes of elevating their own creative endeavors.
As the play opens, we see Susannah, a down-and-out artist who is hosting this year’s event. The walls of her apartment are covered with many of her previous (unsuccessful) artistic attempts.
Although her art career has not been everything she had hoped it would be, she is excitedly putting the finishing touches on a new art installation before her guests arrive.
After years of bad reviews and frustration she has finally created a work of art like no other—this piece will turn the art world upside down and finally establish her as a dynamic force within it.
Susannah’s installation will be her masterwork, provided she can get the man she kidnapped, gagged and handcuffed for the piece to remain quiet long enough for her to complete the installation.
Triffle described the play as “part comedy, part cheap mystery, with the whole thing wrapped up in film noir.”
The story was inspired by a custom that originated in the late 19th century: Bored housewives would get together for tea parties to pursue intellectual endeavors and educate themselves on fine art and literature.
Triffle has decided to take that custom and give it a contemporary twist to create an absurdly post-feminist riff on female competition and the subversive nature of support groups.
The play tells the story of three misguided contemporary women artistes—Susannah, Miranda and Harriet—whose frustrations with painting, poetry and their lives lead them to engage in crazier and crazier stunts in order to create the art they so desperately want to create.
Susannah has created a human art installation with a subject that may or may not be willingly taking part in the piece.
As the other women arrive, the work is met with a mixture of shock, excitement and a renewed sense of creativity. At the core of this play, two main questions are posed: What is art? And is it worth it to take great risks in order to pursue your art?
For actress Anne Sorce, who plays Susannah, the answer to the latter question is an enthusiastic yes.
“Susannah’s core is about being an artist,” Sorce said. It’s about “who she wants to be versus the voice inside her head.”
Sorce’s Susannah has had a lot of disappointment, and even failure, in her life, and yet through it all she always manages to pick herself up and carry on. She is a character that you want to root for, and the big question is whether she will be able to pull it off this year with her new art installation.
Beaux Arts Club
Friday, May 24, through Sunday, June 9
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
Tickets are free with a suggested donation of $10–20
Recommended for teens and older
Triffle, who founded Imago Theatre in 1979, has a long history of creating and acting in innovative productions. According to imagotheatre.com, in 1997 she wrote and directed Ginger’s Green, which marked the beginning of a canon of original music-theater works that includes Ajax, Oh Lost Weekend, No Can Do and Missing Mona.
In 2006 her music-theater style changed form under the influence of Richard Maxwell, often featuring anti-clown heroes played by Danielle Vermette and cofounder Jerry Mouawad in works titled Hit Me in The Stomach, Mix Up, The Dinner, Simple People and Backs Like That Splat.
Over her 30-year association with Imago, Triffle has won numerous awards, including Best Touring Production from the Independent Reviewers of New England, an Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship, New York Dance Film awards and Portland Theatre awards for choreography, costume design and best original play.
For Imago, Beaux Arts Club is a return to a more traditional style of theater. Triffle points out that at its heart Imago’s primary mission is to present innovative work that will entertain audiences.