Vincent. Can you hear that name and not think of sunflowers and madness; a disfigured ear? There is so much more to Vincent Van Gogh, and who better to tell the true story than his own brother. Don’t miss this mesmerizing one man show of Theo Van Gogh as portrayed by B. Stanley.
Theo, a week after his brother’s death, wants to set the record straight in the midst of swirling rumors of Vincent’s peculiar behavior. We join Theo in Vincent’s simple room; there is a small desk on one side and an easel which holds a blank canvas on the other. On one corner of the canvas hangs a straw hat, and a scarf, waiting for the return of their owner. Near the easel a small round table holds a candle, and next to it in front of the easel is a short four legged stool. Theo’s loss, and the emptiness he feels, is palpable. Vincent lived so simply, his life was about love, not possessions, and his love had become his art.
Now, Theo takes us back, back before Vincent was an artist when he wanted to be an evangelist minister. He was clearly a zealot about everything he loved. First it was the ministry, then it was fallen women, and all the while he was learning, teaching himself to draw and paint. Sadly, in the end, even his overwhelming passion could not save him from himself.
Through letters between the brothers, Theo tells the struggles of Vincent’s life, his fear of artistic success, his inability to be alone, but also the excitement at the progress his work was achieving. Throughout the show, projected on a large screen at the back of the stage, we are shown Van Gogh’s work as it matures from intricate line drawings of miners to the spectacular final oils.
In the end, of course, Vincent is dead, and Theo, himself trying to understand, wants us to know the true story.
Vincent is beautifully crafted and finely acted; it is truly a show to savor.
by Leonard Nimoy (based on the play “Van Gogh” by Philip Stephens)
Directed by B. Stanley and Theatre Du Jour
Produced by Theatre De jour
Reviewed by Marcia Kirtland