+ The perfect set to commit a murder
Gillette Castle was home to American actor William Gillette, the actor known for pioneering Sherlock Holmes’ character. Gillette is also the man on which Ken Ludwig based his murder-mystery farce script, “The Game’s Afoot.” Asolo Repertory Theatre is hosting a production of the play through May 12. The production opened March 29, and featured an impressive set, complete with a rotating hidden room and massive curving staircase.
The set also featured one full wall of murals. According to set designer Judy Gailen, Gillette was a fan of the painter, Maxfield Parrish, whose paintings hung on the castle’s wall — Gailen is also a fan. She was also inspired by a friend’s photos of California sunsets that reminded Gailen of Parrish’s work. So, she wanted to recreate a mural that included the sunsets, as well as capture the Parrish paintings
To research the production, Gailen and director Greg Leaming visited the castle where it’s perched above the Connecticut River. Gillette built it in 1914 on a 184-acre plot. He had the castle built to look like medieval ruins — the perfect setting for a murder.
“We learned the playwright didn’t want Gillette Castle, he wanted an Art Deco palace,” Gailen says in an email. She found it eccentric and remarkable; for instance, every door in the castle was different. She hoped to capture the eccentricity and play true to the script as Ludwig intended, and it’s a sight to see.
+ First of bi-annual art installation
Jake Brady of MillerBrady Fine Art has finally settled into his new location after a year and decided he needed to host an event at the cool industrial space he loves to share with people. It’s tucked away in the Rosemary District, at 614 Florida Ave.
“We wanted to do something where the artist was the focus,” he says. “We didn’t want it to be a $125 ticket gala or a street art fair.”
He and fellow artist Grace Howel decided to host an art show, “Art Off Palm.” It featured area artists in addition to themselves: Joni Younkins-Herzog, Joel Garcia-Vela, David Leifer and Frank Creaturo. There were paintings, sculptures and tons of artwork. Meadow Parish, a female singer-songwriter, entertained, and caterers served drinks and appetizers.
It was a trendy feel at the inaugural event, and more than 200 people attended the art exhibition. Brady suggests this event will take place at the start and close of every season.
+ Second installment of the now known
Thanks to Zachary Gilliland, who curated “Curated Unknowns II,” which opened April 4, at Art Center Sarasota, the unknown artists are a little more known. It’s the second installment of the theme that he hopes will help shed light on seven Sarasota artists and two sculptors from St. Augustine that are emerging, contemporary artists in Florida.
“We’re all hurting for representation,” Gilliland says. Gilliland is an artist, himself, who worked for the art center as assistant curator before taking on the position of chair of the Exhibitions Committee (the volunteer committee of local art professionals). He also does some janitorial work at the art center to pay off student loans that he took out to become an artist.
The 40 pieces he selected from artists he heard of through word of mouth represent a variety of talent featuring pop art and abstract to digital illustration and ceramic portraits. It runs through April 26 and features work from Ringling College of Art and Design alumni, such as the artist who goes by “Javo” and works from Pablo Rojas, as seen on left.
Each week, The Observer posts a Patron Saints video featuring patrons of performing-arts groups and the venues to which they donate.
This week, Karen Roe talks about her experience with The Players Theatre of Sarasota. Friends directed Roe to The Players as a cure for her daughter Grace’s shy behavior — she couldn’t order at restaurants or make any eye contact. Grace took an acting class there, and now she’s starring in The Player’s Kids and The Players’ productions. Roe believes every child should have this opportunity, which is why she donates.
Visit yourobserver.com/content/Patron-Saints-378.html to hear the full story. If you’re new to the series, you can view every video through the same link. Be sure to check back to Scene and Heard each week to learn about the next Patron Saint.
‘Oleanna:’ This two-character play written by David Mamet will open at 8 p.m. April 11, at The Players, as part of the The Players Backstage Series, which brings edgy work in a more intimate environment. This is a contemporary and intriguing play focusing on sexual harassment and gender politics. Tickets are $15. Runs through April 21, at The Players Theater, 838 N. Tamiami Trail. For more information, call 365-2494.
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