The National Gallery of Art is certainly one of DC’s gems. How spoiled Washingtonians are to have free access to such an incredible art museum. The National Gallery does an excellent job of providing family-friendly events to promote arts education.
Enter “Color’s Garden” a play written and directed by Helen Hayes winner Mary Hall Surface. This play is inspired by Henri Matisse’s Cut-Outs which are on display at the museum. However, the play is not a biography and Matisse himself is never mentioned. Instead, it is about the artistic process and what it takes to make a picture.
This show is truly a blast for everyone, parents and children alike.
With that, we meet the three characters of “Color’s Garden:” Line (Chris Lane), Shape (Rafael Sebastian), and Color (Megan Graves). These three start out by showing how they work together to create art but Color is feeling left out because she is always last. Color is tired of filling in what Line and Shape have already made. She wants to try going first. This leads the three friends on an adventure about art but also about working together.
Lane, Sebastian, and Graves are a wonderful ensemble and share the stage well. Specifically, Lane and Sebastian conquered some intense physicality for their characters that was exaggerated and charming. Graves zoomed around the stage with electricity.
The dynamic choreography was done by Malinda Kathleen Reese. The physical sequences were very stimulating for the audience.
Jared Mezzocchi designed the vibrant and playful projections that were displayed beautifully on Tony Cisek’s set. This play relied heavily on the projections which made for a fun exploration of the art.
The music used in “Color’s Garden” was composed by Tony Nalker. The use of melody and harmony in relation to the complexities of the visual art was very nice. It was very fun and sweet.
Erik Teague designed the very clever costumes. Each character’s costume was wonderfully representative of what they were. Line’s costume was more monochromatic and had plenty of straight lines. Shape’s had a little more color and plenty of interesting shapes in the pattern and the cut of his wardrobe. Color’s costume was an explosion of color and texture.
Following each weekend performance, the National Gallery offers hands-on art making so that audience members of all ages can take what they just learned and put it into practice.
This show is truly a blast for everyone, parents and children alike. It also is a great gateway for exploring other parts of the Gallery as well and can help audience members make connections in other pieces of art on display.
Running Time: 45 minutes.
‘Color’s Garden: An Adventure with the Elements of Art’ runs at the National Gallery of Art through November 16. For tickets and more information click here.