This world premiere from The Civilians offers a small audience an intimate, immersive experience, recreating the salons of Paul Swan, a bisexual/gay, multi-disciplinary artist. More…
While Swan never achieved the recognition he desired as a modern Renaissance man (painter, sculptor, poet, dancer, etc.), he achieved a different kind of fame, largely through weekly salons. Those held in his studio atop Carnegie Hall, every Saturday from the 1930’s through the 60’s. As the years progressed (and as Swan added layers of pancake make-up and black shoe polish), the tragic, the camp, and the sublime intertwined to create his greatest artwork–himself. Playwright Claire Kiechel has a personal stake in Paul Swan; he is her great-great uncle.
And in "Paul Swan is Dead and Gone," she resurrects her ancestor’s salon and re-imagines it as an electrically charged theatrical space where the forces of life, death, and art do battle.
See it if you like your camp served up with a healthy dose of avant garde pretentions. You like great acting. You like shows in unusual spaces.
Don't see it if if you want pure camp or a show with a lot of pathos. It is smart and often very funny but it doesn't quite add up to much.
See it if You want to be dazzled. Paul Swan is Dead and Gone hurtles you back into the last century & forces you to confront the possibilities of camp
Don't see it if You are wedded to realism.
See it if you want something pretty radical and unique. Super cool ideas and performances. It’ll stay on your mind and give you plenty to talk about.
Don't see it if You want conventional, easy, passive theater.
See it if So entertaining. Performances are all excellent, especially Mr. Torn and Mr. Johanson. Beautiful writing, witty/wise and heartbreaking.
Don't see it if You feel uncomfortable watching theater or performers in an intimate setting.