As promised, I made it out to see Museum last weekend, camera (and program) in hand…
…and I’m so glad that I did! It was one of the most creative, entertaining and clever productions I’ve seen in a long time. In fact, I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
As we waited for the show to start, audience members were invited to explore the “stage”—a faux-exhibit in the Arthur Ross Gallery that would provide the setting for Museum.
I should explain that last part: The play takes place in a museum gallery that has mounted The Broken Silence, a fictional exhibition comprised of pieces by fictional contemporary artists Zachery Moe, Agnes Vaag and Steve Williams. For the Penn production of Museum, real-life local artists (Philadelphia-based puppeteer Martina Plag, grad student Bradley LeMere and visual studies/writing professor Colette Copeland) created real artworks to play the part of the fictional ones.
For example, the Steve Williams construction, created by Martina Plag, looked like this:
One of the Agnes Vaag sculptures, created by Colette Copeland, looked like this:
And so on.
The show itself was, as I said, both entertaining and memorable. It was also a send-up to the University’s Arts and the City Year, a year-long celebration of all things arts both on campus and around the city. As Director Rose Malague wrote in her program note, A&TCY “provided a perfect opportunity for the Theatre Arts Program. As I thought of a play we might produce that would engage with these themes, Tina Howe’s Museum immediately came to mind.”
The cast included actors from all around the University: undergrads, professors, a French exchange student, members of the School of Arts and Sciences and Penn Medicine staff.
Kudos to the director (Theatre Arts professor Rose Malague) and to the talented cast and production team!