Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Calling All Artists: The Delaware Contemporary Wants YOU to Participate

The Delaware Contemporary is hosting two exciting 6x6 events featuring artwork from artists of all ages and stages in their creative evolution!

We are excited to host this "community-centric art project" again this year! Sign up now to have your work on display at The Delaware Contemporary 
Friday, October 6 through Sunday, October 8, 2017
FREE to participate, FREE to attend! 
Registration ends Wednesday, August 30.

Small Art, Big Auction
The Delaware Contemporary will host the reprisal of SABA on Saturday, November 11, 2017 to present small works of art donated by emerging, mid-career and seasoned artists as well as students, youth and local celebrities! Help support The Delaware Contemporary by donating your work today! 
Art entries due by Monday, October 30, 2017.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Chapel Street Tells a Dark Tale in "The Pillowman"

By Mike Logothetis

(L-R): John Barker, Steve Connor, Jimmy Van Buren. 
Photo by Peter Kuo.
Somewhere at the confluence of Poe, Kafka and Tarantino lies Martin McDonagh’s spellbinding play,The Pillowman. While some would label this as black comedy, I believe it is more dramatic realism. The feelings I had when processing the Chapel Street Players production on my walk home from the theater dealt more with unhealthy realistic possibilities than with sinister “what ifs.”

But my own petty internal arguments should not stop you from getting a ticket to this week’s final run of shows  because this is a play you should experience. Director J.W. Pukatsch puts his four main actors through a gauntlet of emotions because McDonagh’s script demands authenticity. While all the major players were excellent, the show is anchored by the stalwart performance of Jimmy Van Buren as the protagonist Katurian.

Writer Katurian’s 400 short stories (all but one unpublished) might be described as a how-to guide of “101 ways to skewer a 5-year-old.” The purportedly fictional stories have landed Katurian and his weak-minded brother Michal (Sean McKean) in prison, since the killings described in his simply-told fables have been replicated in the town where they live.

The policemen who interrogate Katurian – the disdainful Tupolski (Steve Connor) and his hot-headed partner Ariel (John Barker) – aren’t necessarily wrong in hating what their prisoner has written. These are sick, demented tales of torture written by a bruised man in a world the audience never sees outside of the prison walls. But do these lawmen deserve to be judge, jury and executioner on top of their detective roles?

Barker and Connor, as Ariel and Tupolski, turn the classic good cop/bad cop formula into a devilish vaudevillian routine. "Good cop" Tupolski toys with Katurian, giving him false impressions of understanding, sympathy and hope. "Bad cop" Ariel is an amalgam of the clich├ęd combustible, torture-happy cop with a secret past. The two have chemistry and perverse senses of humor that fit their surroundings. Neither seems to care a shred for humanity and force Katurian to continuously jump through hoops of their own manic creation.

Van Buren imbues the arrogant yet thin-skinned Katurian from his mercurial talking in the interrogation room to the more subdued time spent with his weak-minded brother in a holding cell. You want to root for Katurian, but the audience sees that he is not a wholly sympathetic character.

Katurian’s inflated sense of self-satisfaction when he tells a story – especially one of his stories – is pure arrogance. When the police criticize and threaten to destroy his writings, the passion boiling within Van Buren’s Katurian is palpable. Hard evidence, artistic merit, and Katurian’s insistence that the stories are pure fiction are all irrelevant. The police want him gone, but he will do anything save his stories (and their integrity).

The relationship between Katurian and his brother, the childlike Michal, is one where the able sibling has assumed a parental role. (What happened to the men’s mother and father is divulged within the play.)  Michal is at once innocent and unpleasant – a dichotomy captured well by actor McKean. But is Katurian the best role model for Michal? Their relationship is a unique one, to say the least, and the play exposes its lineage.

McDonagh leads the audience down a path, but not a predictable one. Its strength is in its imagery and how the principals deliver. The Pillowman is a difficult story to tell, but everything is executed admirably in this production.

The cast is rounded out by Joseph Pukatsch, Penelope Rose Teague, and Ashley Thompson in minor roles. Kudos to set designer and builder Patrick Brisiel for his inventive and effective backdrop and props.

As a playwright, McDonagh has a casual relationship with murder, mutilation and psychological aggrievement so audiences may be shaken by the events described and simulated in The Pillowman. The show contains strong language and adult situations.
The 2003 play received the 2004 Olivier Award for Best New Play, the 2004-5 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Foreign Play and two Tony Awards.

The limited run of The Pillowman ends this week, with 8:00pm shows on August 3, 4 and 5 at the Chapel Street Playhouse, 27 North Chapel Street in Newark. Parking is available on the street or in the small lot behind the building. Tickets are $18 adult; $12 senior; and $5 student and can be purchased online, via telephone 302.368.2480 or at the box office.  

City-Wide Murals Add Vibrancy to Community 'Scapes

This post comes from a press release courtesy of the Creative District Wilmington...
Photos of each city mural. Photo courtesy of Creative District Wilmington. 
Three of Creative District Wilmington's city-wide mural projects have been huge successes, spanning the communities from Westside to Riverside. CDW is grateful to the residents and supporters of these projects  with a special shout-out to artists Corei and Crae Washington of Smashed Label, James Wyatt, and Eric Okdeh for their creativity and talent — their dedication to the projects is evident in the process.

Each mural began by engaging the residents of the community to join open conversations to express their ideas for the images. The artist then developed a design and presented it to the community for feedback and approval. Once the final image was established, the artist scaled the image to the size of the wall, breaking the image into multiple panels on special cloth, known as parachute cloth, for painting.

The community was then invited to attend the paint days — everyone was welcome, no experience was necessary! For this city-wide mural project, each mural community had 3 scheduled paint days in June. A "mural squad" of 10 dedicated local artists participated in all the community paint days, even the Mayor stopped by to add to the mix!

Two  out of the three murals have been installed. The mural located at Kingswood Community Center will be installed by the end of July.

Dedication ceremonies for each mural will be announced soon!