Richard Barry Fudger Memorial Gallery, where the artworks are hung side by side from floor to ceiling in "Paris-salon" style. Furthermore, the resultant shows would be performed right in the gallery, with the paintings of choice as a backdrop. And so, the unique presentation called "Reframed" was brought to life.
According to the stage directions of the libretto, the musical starts with the elderly La Casati "sitting on a throne in her crumbling Venetian Palace surrounded by two cheetahs, a gray hound, a parrot and a boa constrictor". Obviously much of this was left to the imagination. Augustus John arrives to beg her to stop her excessive spending and they reminisce about the old days when they first met. John sings of her "eyes, drowning in pools of kohl" and as he describes her, the third actress enters playing the young Luisa and asks that he immortalizes her through portraiture. John agrees but demands that she forego all her usual masks and costumes so that he can paint the real her–"I don't jewelry, I don't want paint ... you've got to let it show .. inside those eyes". Eventually the scene fades back to the present where La Casati is left alone with her portraits, which she will have to sell to pay off her debts.
All three plays felt a bit like light opera, in the vein as Stephen Sondheim's latter work "Passions" or Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Aspects of Love" and each had a sombre, wistful air. The actors ran around the room and weaved in and out of the audience throughout each of the musicals. This was a really unique, enjoyable experience in a cool setting and the three actors did a really good job with these original works. Yet, I think the concept of basing a mini musical on a painting would work just as well if not better on an actual stage where we could see and hear properly. I would love it if Acting Up Stage tried this again, and maybe tackled some more recent art movements like Pop Art (Andy Warhol, Roy Litchenstein, etc.) and maybe some happier subject matters.