Vincent by Leonard Nimoy
*UPDATE January 3, 2016: Selected in six categories, “Best of 2015 BWW Rhode Island Critics Picks” including Best Actor in a Leading Role (James Briggs), Best Director (Brant Pope), and Best Touring Production. Click to see the full list.
Today, Vincent van Gogh is one of the most recognizable and beloved painters. In Van Gogh’s lifetime, however, he sold only one painting and critics labeled his work madness. His story, however, is so much more than that of the misunderstood genius who cut off his own ear. In this play, Vincent’s brother, Theo, movingly reveals Vincent as few knew him. After Vincent’s death, Theo defends Vincent’s legacy at a gathering of friends and colleagues (an actual historic event). Theo, however, is not interested in telling the small story of the demise of one man. Rather, he argues the bigger meaning and significance of his brother’s life to all humankind. As seen through the eyes of Theo, Vincent van Gogh lives on as a symbol of inspiration, courage, passion, and the lust for life that art kindles in all of us.
At times, Briggs also becomes Vincent and embodies the loving, passionate and brilliant man so cherished by his brother. BroadwayWorld.com described Briggs’ performance as “flawless” and “masterful” and stated, “He is a thoroughly-engaging, eloquent narrator bringing great warmth, genuineness of feeling, and utter conviction to every aspect of his performance.” Berkshire On Stage said this production is “enlightening and enjoyable” and “is not to be missed.” The Burlington Free Press described it as “a visual treat” and The Valley Reporter called it “a fabulous mix of theater and art.”
Vincent runs approximately 85 minutes. While appropriate for all audiences, the show is best suited for adults and children ages ten and up.
“To act well in this world, one must sacrifice all personal desires. The people who become missionaries of religious thought have no other Fatherland than this thought. Man is not on Earth merely to be happy, nor even simply to be honest. He is here to realize great things for humanity, to attain nobility, and to surmount the vulgarity of nearly every individual.” — Ernest Renan (Vincent van Gogh’s favorite quote)