Rorschach Theatre continues to maintain a standard of excellence among its artists with their wonderful production of The Gallerist. With this production Rorschach will surely see it rise as one of the top tier theaters in DC. Catherine Tripp molds a wonderful cast with mastery and wit. The production is entertaining and the conceits are fun. The cast is just delightful and each perform several bits of emotional and sometimes physical acrobatics as they switch from character to character. I’ve noticed DC actors becoming more and more adept at playing multiple characters as the money flowing into the arts dwindles. Thank you for your talent and for finding a creative way to overcome the budgetary limits on the number of cast that can be hired!
We begin the show looking at a wall of cages that soon contains a man imprisoned. The audience is addressed directly and then the scene begins to unfold on the stage as the prisoner speaks. We discover that the thoughts and the deeds of the characters are one as characters slip into flashbacks in mid sentence while the cast looks on in wonder. The story is complex and can’t be done justice in this small review, but suffice it to say that murdered monkeys, lesbians, war-torn relationships, pet souls, and the gallery all come together in a wonderful mix of fantasy and horror.
Blair Bowers is wonderful as the solid and grounded Laura, sister of Selena (Louise Schlegel). She brings a “Wilde” flair to the piece that helps maintain the cohesion of the world with her perfect manners. Emily Post would be so proud. Bowers creates the tether that allows Selena to become increasingly insane. Swinging between a frightened, lovelorn woman and one possessed by a demonic monkey is no easy feat and she does it with ease and panache. The tug of war between the two becomes the focus of the story as they try to find what role they are supposed to play in each others lives. And, boy, do they find it! The ladies “finding” each other is worth the price of admission by itself.
Overall, I thought the show was directed and acted wonderfully. The only sore spot is the writers verbosity.The same phrases were used over and over again to drive a point home that is already asleep in it’s bedroom. And there is a tendency to tell the audience what is happening and what has happened – as though they are not intelligent enough to follow the story themselves. I would love to see a world where audiences are given a bit more credit, but that’s a crusade for another year.
I would definitely suggest seeing The Gallerist for its wonderful cast and fantastic director. You will have an amazing amount to talk about at the bar afterwards!