A fascinating exploration of how artists experience self-doubt and success
Seattle theatre company Red Rover Theatre is premiering Visiting Cezanne at Edinburgh this year. It takes audiences back in time through failing painter Nora Baker to the studio of Paul Cezanne, where she finds a man wracked with self-doubt but who displays a fierce determination to paint every day and master his craft. The play is written by award-winning author Duane Kelly.
Unknown artist Nora visits the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 2016, where things get really weird. From there she travels back to 1900 and Southern France, where she meets Cezanne, burdened with his own issues. Nora desperately wants to get back to 2016 and Cezanne does little to help her. Also ensnared in Nora’s crisis is an art historian from Utah and Cezanne’s gardener.
Visiting Cezanne explores what represents failure and success for artists. How ‘failing’ can actually give us something to learn from. It’s also about fortitude and determination.
Says Duane; ‘I was inspired to write the play after my own visit to the Metropolitan Museum to see a Cezanne exhibition. I started to wonder how Cezanne would feel if he could see how famous he became after he died. I have always thought of him as a role model: despite his lack of confidence he continued to paint every day. This shows real fortitude and determination and it paid off, but sadly not in his lifetime. I really get the concept of self-doubt and I know others do too.’
Cezanne is one of those artists who achieved modest success in his lifetime but whose reputation exploded after he died.
Visiting Cezanne is being performed by a group of theatre artists from Glasgow, all graduates from the renowned performing arts school the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Another of Duane’s plays, Enquiry Concerning Hereafter, is being presented at the Fringe by Edinburgh Business School, which commissioned the play. It is about the dear friendship between Enlightenment philosophers David Hume and Adam Smith.
For a taste of what to expect of Visiting Cezanne visit Red Rover Theatre Company
‘Visiting Cezanne moved me greatly and brought me to tears at times. Needless to say the story pushed many emotions in my own life as an artist….Thanks for a wonderful theatrical experience’ – George Woodall, veteran Seattle artist
This beautifully directed and acted production ….. plumbs its characters with precision and tenderness. Duane Kelly’s work has the gentle mastery and heartfulness you might expect of Horton Foote and comic plot twists that would make Alan Ayckbourn proud. It doesn’t get better than this’ – Brad Warren, Writer and Editor
‘Because of attending the play my husband has started writing again. It was so inspirational that after not writing for a year he is again at it! We both loved the play’ – audience member
Duane Kelly is the author of 11 full-length plays. He co-founded Red Rover Theatre Company which performs new plays in Seattle’s fringe venues. Duane is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and for 8 years served as the Guild’s representative for Washington State.
90 minutes running time, playing on the Alba Stage, Hill Street Theatre, Venue 41, Edinburgh, 2.50pm, Guide age 14+ Aug 5-16, 18-28, Ticket prices: between £12-15
Writer: Duane Kelly
Associate Producer: Paula Nugent
Set and Costume Design: Rachael Light
Cast: Graduates from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland