'Chasing Manet' from Heller Theatre tells tale of escape from retirement home
BY JAMES D. WATTS JR. World Scene Writer
Thursday, November 01, 2012
11/01/12 at 3:08 AM
Eduoard Manet's painting "Le déjeuner sur l'herbe," with its naked women enjoying a picnic with some fully clothed men, has inspired controversy and comment since it was first displayed in 1863.
In Tina Howe's 2009 play, "Chasing Manet," this artistic masterpiece inspires something completely different - an escape from the genteel "prison" that is the modern retirement home.
Heller Theatre will present "Chasing Manet," with performances 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Tuesday and Nov. 9-10, and at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Henthorne PAC, 4825 S. Quaker Ave.
Tickets are $10; the Tuesday performance is a "Pay What You Can" show. Tickets are available at the door or by calling 918-746-5065.
At the center of "Chasing Manet" are two women. Catherine Sargent, played by Billie Sue Thompson, is an artist from a well-to-do family whose eyesight has deteriorated to the point that she is legally blind.
Because of her condition, Catherine has been ensconced in an old-age home by her son. And she's sharing a room with Rennie (Jan Simpson), who carries on conversations with her deceased husband.
Even though Rennie is confined to a wheelchair, Catherine becomes determined that the two of them find a way to break out of their confinement and escape aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 luxury liner to France, where Catherine can once again spend time in the presence of her favorite painting - Manet's "Le déjeuner sur l'herbe."
Julie Tattershall directs the production, which also features Ron Friedberg, Roderick Hudson, Ruth Seefeldt, Nicole Lee, Paul Henry, George Romero, Jack Hosley, Sidney Treat, Melissa Childs, Sherry Zyskowski and Sue Sinor.
Original Print Headline: 'Chasing Manet' on tap from Heller
James D. Watts Jr. 918-581-8478
Billie Sue Thompson (left) as Catherine and Jan Simpson as Rennie star in Heller Theatre's production of "Chasing Manet" by Tina Howe. Courtesy