Beneath The Gavel
Closed 2h 10m
Beneath The Gavel

Beneath The Gavel NYC Reviews and Tickets

(41 Reviews)
Members say
Entertaining, Clever, Quirky, Confusing, Ambitious

About the Show

Bated Breath Theatre Company presents an immersive physical theater piece exploring the rise of branded art in the collision of high art and high finance.

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Member Reviews (41)

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Fun, Innovative, Interactive, Entertaining, Talented cast

See it if you're interested in interactive theater, a great ensemble and a sarcastic view of the art world. Have fun with those sitting around you.

Don't see it if you take the business of the art world so seriously you cannot laugh at it. The shenanigans get a little tedious by the end of the play.

Clever, Entertaining, Intelligent, Ambitious, Quirky

See it if you know little about the art world and auctions; you want to spend time being amused; enjoy unusual choreography, audience participation.

Don't see it if you prefer a serious play without a lot of clowning around and audience participation; the art world doesn't interest you.

Critic Reviews (11)

The New York Times
March 29th, 2017

“An ungainly hodgepodge of a play…The auctioneer (Missy Burmeister) does a fine job with the set pieces. She’s got the timing and the patter down…Ms. Lieberman directs this art world roundelay with vigor, and pricey artworks flit by in zippy video projections...But both Weisenberg, the collector, and Zeigler, the artist, are underdrawn, and much of the second act is devoted to an Art History 101 costume party…The dialogue is riddled with commonplaces and groaners.”
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March 23rd, 2017

"This fascinating, fast-paced production is a rare glimpse into the art world...Not only vastly entertaining but realistic and informative...'Beneath the Gavel' has a multi-talented troupe...The cast deftly also assumes multiple roles to create the mood and setting for the show...For the cost of a show ticket, you'll be able to experience the thrill of being a part of a high-end art auction the likes of Sotheby's or Christie's. This is an enthralling piece of finely tuned theater."
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Lighting & Sound America
March 22nd, 2017

“A disorganized collage of scenes and styles, all of them deployed to make the same rather obvious point…There's not enough narrative to hold it together and it's a stylistic mishmash. It also seems to think portraying the art world as populated strictly with phonies and pretenders is the freshest of ideas…I do wish everyone involved had employed more stylistic rigor and aimed for sharper satire."
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March 28th, 2017

"'Beneath the Gavel' is a fascinating interactive performance piece about the world of Modern Art from the points of view of the dealer, the collector and the artist. The audience gets to bid on masterpieces as well as watch a painting being created. Not all of it works and some of the avant-garde effects are rather obscure like the symbolic ballet. However, give the Bated Breath Theatre Company an A for effort as the evening is unique in its way."
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March 21st, 2017

"One is subjected to a convoluted 'lesson' on the art of making a deal in the 'art world'...Although the fictional account of artist and his subject has some moments of fun, and 'mocking' the art world can be the subject of a play, the effort does not coalesce here in 'Beneath the Gavel.' The piece is perplexing and overwrought, and the dizzying dance of actors climbing ladders and bouncing on trampolines simply does not add anything to the weak dramatic arc."
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Times Square Chronicles
April 4th, 2017

“Fun. This immersive theatrical experience takes you inside the art world and gives you a chance to bid on art using paddles and play money…The show also attempts to unmask the art world, as they give facts about the ins and outs of art auctions…This show only skims the surface. ‘Beneath the Gavel’ offers a rather entertaining evening without much substance. At times the text is confusing as well. The cast are all extremely talented...The design elements are all well done.”
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March 22nd, 2017

“An innovative production...The ensemble, directed by Lieberman, does a fine job in representing Ziegler’s difficulties in New York, with various interesting bits to represent the art icons, the insider business of the art world, and more. The music selections are excellent and the production employs the talents of the cast in dance, movement and mime; their skills are obvious…The themes about contemporary art examined in ‘Beneath the Gavel’ are excellent and leave one thinking."
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Manhattan Digest
March 27th, 2017

"There are glaring omissions of female representation, many of whom were contemporaries of the aforementioned artists...In a male-dominated profession, Lieberman may wish to consider including them in future rewrites of her play. Lieberman, who also directs, has assembled an able cast who keep the action brisk and lively. There are no real stand-out performances but collectively, this ensemble is able to deliver the goods."
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Off Off Online
March 25th, 2017

"Offers a mêlée of perspectives on the visual art world...While each one of these approaches would make for an interesting and meaty show, 'Beneath the Gavel' tries to treat them all, and suffers because of it...Unfortunately, many moments of humor rely on gimmicks...'Beneath the Gavel’s' other flaw is that it tries to do too much...'Beneath the Gavel’s' saving grace is that it does offer documentary-like moments of exposing the fast-paced world of the billion-dollar art industry."
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March 22nd, 2017

"Conveys something of the electricity, adrenaline rush, and energy which invariably accompany evening sales at such institutions. Equally, it deftly skewers trendy downtown culture vulture types...Of course, nothing attracts moss faster than the avant-garde, and parts of the play feel instantly dated...By the third ‘auction,’ the joke has worn thinner than Pollock’s paint...On balance, however, 'Gavel' does a decent job at conveying the madcap antics of an endlessly fascinating milieu."
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The Middletown Press
March 23rd, 2016
For a previous production

"If you’ve ever imagined what it might be like to play with the big guys at an auction house like Sotheby’s or Christie’s, this is your golden invitation...In pantomime, with dance and movement, in scenes of a behind-the-canvas look at art auctioneers, the art world is revealed, warts and all...Grab your paddle, don the fancy patron of the arts glasses as a gift, collect as much fake moola as you can, and enjoy the theatrical endeavor that is the creative whirlwind 'Beneath the Gavel.'”
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