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News: Art Gallery Comes to Campus as Museum Play Debuts at PCC

Scene from the play

Tina Howe’s Museum, a play based on the memorable conclusion of a metropolitan city art show, premiered last Friday at Pasadena City College’s (PCC) Little Theater. This comedic play transports audience members to a museum gallery where they bear witness to the hilarious – and often times insightful – reactions of an eclectic group of museum-goers. Directed by PCC instructors Sandi Massie and Whitney Rydbeck, the play features more than a dozen PCC student-actors comprising roles as provocative as the artwork itself. 

“The audience should first be entertained and perhaps intrigued by the many ways art affects each of us…and appreciate, even more than they may now, how important art is in all of our lives,” Rydbeck said. “Love it or hate it, art affects us, defines us, and allows us to have a very personal relationship with it. It is what makes us, in a word, alive.”

Museum opens to the scene of an aptly named exhibit, “Broken Silence,” which features the creations of three contemporary artists. The artworks on display are much like those found at an actual museum: abstract paintings, life-size representations, and organic-based sculptures. After the initial entry of a zealous security guard, the exhibit opens and the audience braces for the onslaught of museum visitors. A bickering French couple, clumsy tourists, fashion divas, and a pair of pretentious art lovers are among the individuals whose conversations break the silence of the exhibit.

A unique aspect of the play soon becomes evident as more museum visitors appear: the play has numerous more roles than actors. “One reason we decided on Tina Howe'sMuseum was for the large number of characters that our cast of 17 will have to play…The double, triple casting required for this play is a challenge for the student actors to pull off. It's like play three plays at once,” Rydbeck said.

Each role presents its own unique opinion of the artwork that varies from outright criticism to adoration—a task that prompts the audience to consider their own opinion toward the art (and even some judgment toward the visitors themselves). In this way, Museum presents both a gallery of artwork and of diverse human beings for the audience to reflect upon. Audience members face the ultimate test when a seemingly “normal” museum visitor reveals her obsession with the artist that created the organic sculptures; a hilarious scene ensues that grabs the attention of  museum visitors and audience members alike and makes all parties re-consider the impact of art. 

Those who have yet to experience Museum can select from 8 p.m. showings on July 25, 26, and 27 shows (please note: July 27 has both an 8 p.m. and a matinee showing at 2 p.m.). The play is held at the Little Theater in room C-106 and tickets, which can be purchased at the door, cost $10 for general admission and $5 for PCC students, staff, and seniors.

Release Date: 07/24/2013
Contact: Juan F. Gutierrez , Director of Public Relations
Phone: (626) 585-7264
Email: jfgutierrez@pasadena.edu