Ends Apr 09

Beneath The Gavel

Members say: Entertaining, Clever, Quirky, Confusing, Funny
74
Critics
64
6 reviews
Members
76
24 reviews
 

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.... Read more

Based on stories from auction world insiders, 'Beneath the Gavel' gives audiences an inside look at the only market—besides the stock market—to show up on the front pages of every major newspaper. The show includes opportunities for the audience to bid on and take home works of art. Not a Rockefeller? Bated Breath Theatre Company provides the (fake) money although the art is real!

 
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Reviews (30)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
64
Avg Score

85
BroadwayWorld

"Unique show that is not only vastly entertaining but realistic and informative...The cast deftly also assumes multiple roles to create the mood for the show...'Beneath the Gavel' has outstanding special effects and visuals along with inventive elements like captivating dance segments...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." Full Review

45
Lighting & Sound America

“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." Full Review

35
Theatre Reviews Limited

"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." Full Review

80
BlogCritics.org

“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." Full Review

70
ZEALnyc

"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." Full Review

80
The Middletown Press

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.'” Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
76
Avg Score

52
Quirky, Confusing, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if This show says it will 'expose' the art auction business. Well not so much. It has a bewildering back-story and hokey pretend auctions

Don't see it if You like plays that you don't have to ask yourself, 'What is happening here?' The cast is clever, perhaps too much so.

70
During previews
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Quirky, Insipid

See it if You want to know more about art and its auction, and you want to participate in it. A lot to learn beneath the gavel!

Don't see it if You want a serious play, this is just light entertainment. Some scenes don't connect well and are a little distracting from the plotline.

82
During previews
Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Edgy, Intelligent

See it if you have any interest in painting, galleries, artists, etc. Part dance performance, part play, part auction, part educational venue, all fun

Don't see it if you are not ready to have a good time and enter into the fun. Be prepared to bid on the artwork and everything that goes with the auction

75
During previews
Funny, Clever, Quirky, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if You like to be involved in a show and interact with the actors and the story. And are interested in the art world.

Don't see it if A play with a straight ahead plot and where you sit in the dark and watch the action instead of being part of it

75
During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Inventive, Fun, Sprawling

See it if you like the Art World. BTG looks at artists, galleries, auctions.Unwieldy shifts in tone and focus; many devices (projection, dance, props)

Don't see it if you want a coherent plot. You'll get an engrossing experience, esply the auctions. Some misfires (like the mini-ballet). Different and fun!

Also Without being preachy, BTG teaches a lot about today's art market. The... Read more Read less

76
During previews
Clever, Interesting, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a clever, expressive, sort of experimental piece about modern art with a fun auction twist. I learned a lot from the show.

Don't see it if Shows about the art world done with a bit of dance and visual styling is of no interest to you.

90
During previews
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if If you're looking for something interesting and new. The work is well done and the concept is fresh and interesting. I really enjoyed myself

Don't see it if You want a more traditional theatre experience or hate audience interaction.

75
During previews
Clever, Entertaining, Slick, Great staging, Unique

See it if You want to see a really good attempt at something new. This is presented in a very quick fun way almost like watching a music video.

Don't see it if You can't cut them some slack if everything is not perfect. See it with "vision" for what it's MEANT to be and you'll enjoy it much more.

75
During previews
Delightful, Confusing, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if you like contemporary art and want a couple hours of light entertainment.

Don't see it if you don't like audience participation or don't like fine art.

78
During previews
Confusing, Interesting, Entertaining, Fun

See it if you want to see something engaging and entertaining. what it lacks in clarity and cohesion is made up for with a good, fun time.

Don't see it if you have no interest in modern art, don't like being confused and going with the flow, or take yourself too seriously

Also I think they should have the ushers explain things before patrons ente... Read more Read less

74
During previews
Quirky, Confusing, Interesting, Quasi-immersive

See it if I liked the interactive mock-auction that includes the audience & thought some of the auction info was interesting, movement - amusing...

Don't see it if But thought whatever story there was was confusing (didn't follow the temporal jumps), uncompelling, and didn't really capture my interest.

65
During previews
Ambitious, Clever, Confusing, Entertaining, Semi-immersive

See it if you seek a potpourri experience- a little dance, a little music, brief auctions, commentary, performance, mixed media, breaking the 4th wall

Don't see it if you're not open to part immersion/part play and not always being certain where it's headed; my seatmate kept asking me questions

90
During previews
Funny, Great acting, Refreshing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a unique and interesting play/dance show

Don't see it if you are looking for a serious play.

78
During previews
Clever, Indulgent, Banal, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if you're interested in learning more about the selling of modern art dealing , especially auctions; enjoy interactive plays.

Don't see it if you're not fond of interactive plays or you're expecting a coherent plot.

Also This was really two different plays stuck together. The part about the... Read more Read less

76
During previews
Clever, Thought-provoking, Confusing, Great staging

See it if It is experimental. You like to be a part of the experience via an Art Auction. You learn a bit about how the art world works.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy experimental theater. You don't enjoy interactive theater.

Also The first act was a tad bit too much nonlinear for my taste initially.... Read more Read less

65
During previews
Dizzying, Disappointing

See it if Audience participation poorly written. Some bright spots , including strong performances by Gabriel Aprea and Missy Burmeister.

Don't see it if Expect a strong clear story line.

79
During previews
Ambitious, Delightful, Great acting, Indulgent, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy the art world. Enjoy an immersive theater experience with a touching story. The actors are committed and fun to watch. Fun night.

Don't see it if you are looking for a traditional theater experience. You don't enjoy a more thought-provoking experience. You don't enjoy being part of it.

74
During previews
Clever, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if You are interested in back office art auctions and like to engage in audience participation.

Don't see it if You like typical Broadway productions.

94
During previews
Absorbing, Delightful, Confusing, Entertaining

See it if You want to be involved in a real live art auction (with play money). You might learn a little something, too.

Don't see it if You are clueless about modern art. This was a two hour show that could have gone two more.

80
During previews
Inventive, Quirky, Great staging, Immersive

See it if You want to go behind the scenes of the art world. You want to participate in a live art auction. You like to see inventive theater.

Don't see it if You don't like pieces breaking the 4th wall. You like straight plays. You aren't interested in learning about the art world.

70
During previews
Quirky, Refreshing, Confusing, Random

See it if You like participating in a fun fake auction, learning a little bit about the art world, and seeing experimental physical storytelling

Don't see it if You don't like shows without a clear plot or a lot of logic in the way it's put together.

73
During previews
Funny, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if you are intrigued by artists and art museums like the MoMA, and you don't mind experimental theatre or audience participation

Don't see it if you prefer traditional linear plot structures or you do not like audience participation. I also found a bit of art knowledge helped

79
During previews
Funny, Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if If you are interested in what happens at auctions. It is educating.

Don't see it if If you are not in this subject or in art.

77
During previews
Quirky, Whimsical

See it if you want to see a whimsical play that combines a lot of elements while not taking itself too seriously. I give it a B- grade.

Don't see it if you want every part to be enjoyable (some scenes fell flat, some technical difficulties) or if you don't like random dance montages.