In an especially bright season of original theatre authored by Jville writers, Eva Chase Woods sticks out as one of the more enjoyable and charming offerings. Perfectly set inside the elegant meeting hall of the Cummer Museum, the newest directorial production of Barbara Colaciello is wonderful The surprisingly appealing play by Jennifer Chase is a storytelling biography that ends up being part gypsy, part catholic school girl, and part outsider that is inventively told by a mostly girl cast.
This special performance follows an adolescent’s path to discovery and identity, set in 1970s Catholic School.
His contemporary paintings incorporate religious iconography and Mary Magdalene references, combined with Jean Michel Basquiat inspired graffiti, along with Jim Dine and Roy Lichtenstein Pop Art influences.
Universal experiences are uncovered through hilarious encounters with the Sisters of Divine Providence, an unwelcome summer guest, and parents and sibling.
On a broader note, the story serves as an observation of the comedy, comfort, conflict, and beauty that can be found in religion and art. Tickets are $20 and include museum entrance.The conceit of the play is that an interesting young woman has become the muse of a painter, who has created a series of works based on her stories, featuring her as the model for his paintings.
It is set inside his studio, where she is posing for his canvass, and as she sits, she tells her story to him. In the background is a trio of some of Jvilles most amazing musicians (Lauren Fincham, Holly DeCardenas, and fittingly, author Jennifer Chase)
Eva Matthews plays the model, telling her stories to real life painter Tony Wood.
The set is fairly simple, the music is girl singalong music that really sets the mood and feeling of the stories, keeps all of them very grounded in a real world kind of way, and the directing is superb.
Barbara's trademark directorial style makes for a personable, intimate, sweet and enjoyable ride, her light touch gives really poignant moments that are balanced out by a breezy humorous kind of wryness. Just a treat.
Check out the performances, Friday Night, January 15th at 7pm & Sunday, January 17th at 2pm
From Left, Artist Tony Wood, Eva Matthews (on divan) Lauren Fincam, Holly DeCardenas, and Barbara Colaciello taking pictures on the right.
text and photos by stephen dare