Here’s a tip for any Bay Area-based SLIFR readers looking for a good live theater experience this weekend— Improper Ambitions: Two Women in the Paris Art World, a new production in the Theatre Rhinoceros at the Bella Union Theatre Company in San Francisco, has been getting some terrific reviews and will be closing its short run this weekend. The Bella Union Web site describes the play’s action thusly:
“From the doomed court of Marie-Antoinette to the radical Impressionist circle, two painters confront war, romance, and the French Academy in Paris. This exciting new play is based on the true lives of Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, the queen's favorite portraitist, and Berthe Morisot, one of the original Impressionists… Written by Bella Union company member Christine U'Ren, and featuring a delightful ensemble cast, this production brings to life such luminaries as Marie-Antoinette, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, and Mary Cassatt.”
I haven’t been able to make it up north to see the play myself, but having seen several productions in the Bay Area over the past ten years or so featuring the work of actor Bruce Lundy* (who plays, among others, Degas, and who will soon, it seems, be adding the credit of producer to his already impressive resume with another upcoming theatrical project), I’d be willing to recommend seeing it based on his talent alone. Lundy has become one of the East Bay’s most respected and sought-after actors since entering the Bay Area theatrical scene over a decade ago; in powerful and inventive productions such as Taking Sides, A Man of No Importance, She Stoops To Conquer and his terrific turn as the Marlowe-esque noir alter ego of a frustrated writer in City of Angels, to name but a few, he has delivered a string of magnetic and thoughtful performances. If I were a betting man (and maybe I am), I’d say the odds are exceptionally good that Lundy, and the other members of the cast of Improper Ambitions, will deliver a engaging, enjoyable evening of theater. Catch it if you can—I wish I could.
* In the interest of full disclosure, I will now not-at-all reluctantly cop to the fact that Bruce Lundy is my best friend and has been for almost 30 years, and I’m thrilled to have some kind of forum to highlight the fine work he does on the Bay Area theater scene. Maybe next time I can deliver some good words before the onset of the closing weekend performances…
(Photo courtesy of the Bella Union Theatre Company)