“Art is practice for the real thing” – Jessica Dickey, playwright
A seasoned museum guard, a copyist, and a guard on his first day all reach out and touch Rembrandt’s Aristotle with a Bust of Homer. The audience is then transported back in time to when Rembrandt received the request to paint a philosopher. Then, it becomes 800 BC where Homer discusses how he wants The Iliad to be heard, not read. In the final act, the old museum guard is at the deathbed with his partner.
From the description alone, it would seem this play would seem deathly serious. However, this is not the case at all. It is often very funny as all these characters speak very frankly and often with very foul language. Francis Guinan is fantastic as Rembrandt. It’s hilarious watching him describe all the requests he receives and promptly denying most of them. Ty Olwin is great as the new museum guard. The entire audience cracks up when he says “Go ahead. Touch it! I won’t tell!”
Gabriel Ruiz is excellent as the security guard. To avoid any spoilers, let’s just say his reaction when everyone goes to touch the painting causes an uproar of laughter. Karen Rodriguez is solid as Rembrandt’s wife. Her best moment is when she tries to seduce Rembrandt. Finally, John Mahoney is incredible as Simon, the partner of the old museum guard. The character of the dying poet is reminiscent of his role as Frasier’s father. They are both very sharp and witty. Also, they are both integral roles that showcase Mahoney’s Tony Award winning talent.
Get tickets now for The Rembrandt at Steppenwolf through November 5th!