The Rembrandt

A Touch Away From A Masterpiece

rembrandt_6Have you ever wanted to touch the untouchable? Walk beyond the guarded lines and get closer to a precious work of art? Well, that captivating desire to embody the aura of the great historical masters of art is what one man seeks to obtain via "The Rembrandt" at The Steppenwolf Theatre.

When a museum guard named Henry (Francis Guinan) who seems to be immersed in his passion for the arts is encouraged to touch a Rembrandt, a dilemma arises when he and two others make the decision to break the rules and go for it. They encounter a high-strung security guard by the name of Jonny (Gabriel Ruiz) who goes all Barney Fife on them and pulls out his gun; telling them to back up.

Are they still willing to touch the untouchable? Well, come to The Steppenwolf Theatre to see, however, this desire to touch starts us on an encounter of characters that taps into our emotions of pain, grief, and sorrow combined with joy, happiness and yes a few laughs and tears.

You travel on a voyage across the history of time that brings you into the lives of the Rembrandt family filled with love and frustrations. As you peek into their lives, we learn about how the pathway of being famous can cause you to gain a legacy beyond your dreams but it can also cause you to lose a lifetime of love and memories.

rembrandt_3Rembrandt needs to complete a painting but he's not too thrilled about the portrait request and the person that requested the painting. We then see an interesting portrayal of Rembrandt played by (Guinan) and his son Titus played by (Ty Olwin) which displays their seemingly love, hate relationship.

The play turns back to Henry's feelings of grief as his partner Simon played by (John Mahoney) is dying. Playwright Jessica Dickey tries to paint a very somber and heartfelt discussion regarding the reality of death and if we are truly living a meaningful life.

It was hard to feel any emotions, which this impactful scene deserves but it wasn't due to the great actors Mahoney and Guinan's; which were outstanding. Your mind can become so enamored with how these two actors provided us with such a real-time experience of grief and fear that we found so amazing by how much love and passion they expressed.

The delicate drama of the end of life that Mahoney and Guinan shared truly embraced the realism of what fear of the unknown means to the one dying and to the one that has to live when a partner has transitioned.

I must, however, admit that Jessica Dickey play directed by Hallie Gordon was somewhat confusing to me as to the directions it veered. I found myself lost in the transitions like a scene where Homer of ancient Greece also played by John Mahoney seems to be thrown in at the last moment and although played well by Mahoney; felt out of place. The roles of Dodger, Titus (Ty Olwin)  and Madeline, Henny (Karen Rodriguez),  which completed the cast was brief however, they were first-rate performances.

We recommend that you see this emotional saga of how we touch the untouchable as we transition in life. "The rembrandt_9-1Rembrandt"  can be seen at The Steppenwolf Theatre. Check it out and remember to bring some tissue.

The Cast included:
John Mahoney (Simon Homer)
Francis Guinan (Henry, Rembrandt)
Ty Olwin (Dodger, Titus)
Karen Rodriguez (Madeline, Henny)
Gabriel Ruiz (Jonny, Martin)


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