Hector Toledo, as the museum’s beleaguered guard in Museum by Tina Howe, warns early on, “Do not touch the artworks.” Rest assured, those artworks will be touched.
Museum opens Thursday, December 3, and runs through December 11. The McCormack Theatre has been transformed into a modern art show called “The Broken Silence,” and a cast of 18 actors playing 38 characters are in full dress rehearsal putting the finishing touches on-stage antics (and a flurry of off-stage costume changes).
Nearly 40 years after it was written, Tina Howe’s Museum still touches a nerve for members of the cast, particularly about the nature of modern art.
Stanzi Potenza ’18 plays three characters, and sees the play as very current in the way Museum mocks attitudes toward art and artists. Some of the pieces on stage are comic in their simplicity – one piece is just an empty paint can on a pedestal, another, a series of blank canvasses. The characters have a range of reactions, from awe to idiocy.
“It’s ridiculous,” Potenza says. “It makes fun of things people hate about at least part of society. It makes fun of the mentality where you can just throw something together and call it ‘art’. And that drives people nuts. The show makes fun of that mentality.”
“Is it really art? Is that really getting a message across?” she says. “[Museum] makes fun of the people who come in and love it, and then the people who hate it, and the people who come in and make fun of it. The play makes fun of all these silly people.”
Directed by Michael Fennimore, Museum is the last show at the McCormack Theatre, as the Performing Arts Department prepares to move to new performances spaces in the soon to be completed University Hall. Tickets are $10 for students, $15 for the general public. Closing night, December 11, alumni of Performing Arts and the casts and crews of 41 years of shows in the McCormack are invited at the student ticket price.
Advanced tickets available here.