photo via OrlandoFringe.org
If only we could time travel to centuries past, meet our heroes and convey to them how much they contributed to the richness of our world. Orlando director/writer/actor Jay Golden has taken that idea, picked a hero – Vincent van Gogh – and turned that idea on its ear, if you will, by bringing the genius painter from 1889 to 2015 to discuss his life, give us advice on love, open up about his insecurities and convey his impressions of 21st-century Orlando.
In paint-splattered clothes, straw hat, bandaged ear and red beard, Golden looks the part, though his facial hair looks as if a dog chewed on it backstage. He also deserves some credit for bringing The Starry Night
to life with real paint (though the image has been pre-printed, enabling him to essentially paint by numbers). In addition, he works in some clever jabs at modern culture while incorporating a delicious Disney-themed sight gag. But there’s no getting around the regrettable truth that Golden is not a good enough actor to carry this ambitious and clumsily written, partially ad-libbed one-man show.
Though the play’s description leads us to believe Golden will take questions from the audience, there was no such involvement during the press preview. Instead, we were treated to an hour of awkward monologue by a performer who had something sweet, even magical, to say, but was unable to say it.
Golden’s delivery lacks nuance, and the dramatic moments seem forced, almost farcical, as if he were playing a joke on us. Actually, he is at times, such as when, in a meta-theatrical aside, he tells us, “Instead of having a Holland accent, I sound like I’m from New York.” But those successful moments are too few, and instead of experiencing the rush of time travel, I was unmoved.
Say Hello to Vincent van Gogh
Jay Golden Enterprises – Winter Park, Fla.
Length: 60 minutes
Rating: 7 and up