Monday night I saw Frank Tangredi's new play Muse, which the Greenhouse Ensemble has brought to The Tank in Midtown.
Hazen Cuyler directs the piece, which moves back and forth across time, sometimes having characters from different times inhabiting the same space on stage.
Early on in the play we come to realize that two young people are dead, and their older family members are left to pick up the pieces. Some of those pieces include beautiful but frightening canvases painted by the artist Sheila Day, played by Rachel Gatewood.
In the play's opening moments, we are told that Sheila is the muse of her lover Matthias, a dancer played by Matt O'Shea. Matthias says he always dances for her, even when she's not around to see him. As it turns out, though, he is as much her muse as she is his, since his raw, physical energy inspires her to paint... but not always the most comforting of images.
Though Matthias says he loves Sheila, we have to wonder if he just wants to possess her in order to stoke his own ego. The same could be said for Sheila's father Austin, played by Jeffrey Grover. Austin rather ostentatiously reminds people of the sacrifices he's made for his younger daughter, even while ignoring his elder daughter Bernie, played by Reanna Armellino.
Matthias's comparatively conventional parents, Walter and Louise (played by Robert Hickey and Anne Fizzard), struggle to understand the violence their son was apparently capable of, all the while loving and accepting their child in a way Austin seems unable to do.
Muse is playing until April 30th, so get your tickets now!