Must-see Theatre in Toronto
Geordie Johnson & Irene Poole. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann. SPONSORED CONTENT
Amsterdam, 1945. Minor artist and gallery owner Han van Meegeren sits in a holding cell awaiting trial for collaboration with the Nazis. He stands accused of selling a previously unknown painting by Dutch master Johannes Vermeer to none other than Hermann Goering. In his defence, van Meegeren claims that the work (entitled “Christ with the Woman Taken in Adultery”) was a total invention – a forgery of Vermeer’s style. Van Meegeren says he purposely conned the Nazi leader – along with the greatest art critics of the time – into believing it was a genuine Vermeer to make a fool of him. Art historian and former resistance fighter Captain Geert Piller has been brought in to investigate. Initially inclined to execute him for treason, Piller decides she has to know for sure whether the prisoner is lying or telling the truth. To save his life, van Meegeren must paint another flawless Vermeer.
Tarragon Theatre presents the world premiere of The Bakelite Masterpiece, written by Canadian playwright Kate Cayley and directed by Richard Rose. Rose has cast acclaimed actors Geordie Johnson and Irene Poole to star in this absorbing drama set against the backdrop of the chaos inflicted by the Second World War.
In the words of playwright Kate Cayley, “I wrote this play after coming across a piece in The New Yorker about the art forger Han van Meegeren, investigated as a war criminal in the aftermath of World War Two. I seized on his story as a way to explore art, the cult of authenticity, the nature of Fascism as it relates to aesthetics, and the profound ambiguities of desire and human imagination. This is a play about art, but also about vengeance, justice, redemption, and how what we believe determines what we see.”
The Bakelite Masterpiece is live on stage at Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave in Toronto, October 21 – November 30, 2014.