Bated Breath Theatre Company’s Beneath the Gavel written and directed by Mara Lieberman is fun. This immersive theatrical experience, takes you inside the art world and gives you a chance to bid on art using paddles and play money. As soon as you walk in you are given glasses, a paddle and later on what looks like monopoly money is sent whizzing into the audience. Register on-line and you get more money to bid with.
The show concerns Haddie Weisenberg (Debra Walsh), a private collector who had an affair and discovered and helped the artist Daniel Zeigler (Corey Finzel). Her private works are being auctioned off. The show based on Weisenberg and Zeigler were real people. Zeigler’s Sarah in Blue, 2003; Gravity, 1997; and Haddie Without Shawl, 1990 are the pieces auctioned off and if you win you actually take home a poster of the art.
The show also attempts to unmask the art world, as they give facts about the in’s and the out’s of art auctions. Having been involved in the world of high-end art auction like Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Gagosian, Mary Boone and Phillips de Pury, this show only skims the surface. Beneath the Gavel offers a rather entertaining evening without much substance. At the times the text is confusing as well.
The cast is all extremely talented with Gabriel Aprea as Geoffrey Thompson; Missy Burmeister as Tracey Allister; Sean Hinckle as Stuart Felso and Moira O’Sullivan as Charlotte McHenry lending their skills.
The design elements are all well done by scenic designer Timothy Golebiewski; lighting designer Jen Rock; costume designer Gail Fresia and choreography by Julia Veron, Missy Burmeister, and Gabriel Aprea.
I hadn’t know much about Haddie Weisenberg or Daniel Zeigler and I am glad I was introduced to these two unique individuals. Make sure you register on line as Gravity, 1997 is truly beautiful and worth owning.
Beneath the Gavel: 59E59, 59 East 59th Street (between Park and Madison) until April 9th.