Already closed | 2h 10m | Midtown E

Beneath The Gavel

From 41 member  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. 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!

Member Reviews (41)


Entertaining, Clever, Quirky, Confusing, Ambitious
Avg Score

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.

Educational, entertaining, participatory, thought provoking

See it if You are interested in art and its creation, valuation, and collection, focussing on art auctions.

Don't see it if You dislike participatory theatre, even if your participation is not actually required.

Also Using the Big Mac scale of valuation, you may see a demonstration of h... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great staging, Intelligent, Resonant, Great writing

See it if you are familiar or just fascinated with art auctions and finance and yearn for behind the scenes lessons and insight with a touch of charm

Don't see it if you prefer action to "talky" and didactic drama and do not appreciate dance interspersed with dialog and flash forwards and backwards

Clever, Entertaining, Thought-provoking

See it if You're interested in what art auctions are all about, and how they influence art itself. Fine acting by this cast set in a fascinating world

Don't see it if The world of auction is not interesting. This show had a avant-garde moments that might be a turn off

Sometimes entertaining

See it if you are knowledgeable about the art auction market. Too many insider references ruin it for the uninitiated. Some fun moments, though.

Don't see it if you are not privy to the art world.

Clever, Entertaining, Disappointing

See it if You want to learn more about how art is valued and how to run an auction. Not very effective as a play. Not much of a story.

Don't see it if You don't care about paintings and auctions.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy the contemporary art world and pseudo-immersive theatre.

Don't see it if half baked execution of a pretty good idea frustrates you.

Cliched, Confusing, Disappointing, Quirky

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.

Ambitious, Funny, Disconnected

See it if you'll have fun with the occasional bidding, you'll enjoy laughing at the art world's absurdities.

Don't see it if you're looking for plot, or depth. There are lots of disconnected scenes, many are done well, but no time for develpment.

Edgy, Intelligent, Interactive, Strong ensemble

See it if you enjoy interactive theater; if you have an interest in art and artists; if you appreciate ensemble acting & interpretive drama.

Don't see it if you're looking for a linear plot; if you want light entertainment

Confused, Ambitious, Informative

See it if need 101 class in contemporary art and art dealing world. If you enjoy elements of interactive theatre and want to play the "auction".

Don't see it if expect a fully developed narrative. If you don't like physical theatre and can't stand sloppy and cluttered set design.

Clever, Confusing, Disappointing, Entertaining, Quirky

See it if you're interested in the art world and like interactive theater. Very creative staging, decent acting.

Don't see it if You want a fully fleshed-out drama. Would have liked fewer artsy dance pieces & more scenes explaining the relationships. Confusing ending.

Also This piece could have been more powerful if they had shown a connectio... Read more Read less

Clever, Entertaining, Quirky, Indulgent, Funny

See it if You like art auctions. You like shows with audience participation.

Don't see it if You don't like gimmicks. You don't like shows that pander to the audience.

Disappointing, Quirky, Banal, Insipid

See it if You have nothing else to do. The play has little structure and terrible flow. Even if you are involved in the auction world it is boring.

Don't see it if I would say just don't see it. Theater 59E59 offers many great productions. This is not one of them.

Entertaining, Delightful, Refreshing

See it if You are ready to participate and enter the world of art auctions. Most fun I've had at a show in a while.

Don't see it if You can't get behind interpretive dance and art history lessons scattered throughout

Disappointing, Clever, Slow, Great staging

See it if don't know anything at all about the art auction world, but would like to; want to be disappointed with the art world

Don't see it if simply love art for art itself, or don't care at all about art.

Entertaining, Must see, Great acting, Delightful, Educational

See it if you want to have some fun and participate in the experience. Smile. Learn about the art world.

Don't see it if You're expecting a traditional theater experience.

During previews
Clever, Sprawling, Absorbing, Fun, Inventive

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

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

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.

During previews
Clever, Entertaining, Interesting

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.

During previews
Clever, Delightful, Ambitious, Intelligent, Edgy

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

During previews
Entertaining, Fun, Interesting, Confusing

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

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.

During previews
Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Refreshing, Quirky

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

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,...
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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 ...
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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 freshes...
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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-gard...
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