Review: WriteNOW! Festival, part 2 – pivotal(arts)

By Crystal Wood

As fellow MoT writer Sam promised, here is my take on the third play being presented at the WriteNOW! Festival of New Works, Art vs. Love vs. Life.

Art vs. Love vs. Life is a drama written by Jon Nelson, and which interestingly stars two of WriteNOW’s organizers, Deanna Palazzo and Jennifer De Lucia.  Jimi Shlag plays the main character Jay, an artist weighed down with family and responsibility.

This is what the heart of the play is really about.  In the tradition of novels like Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or movies like Pollock, this show examines what happens when being an artist interferes with being a regular Joe (or Jay, in this case).  All Jay wants to do is paint, but life hands him a wife, a child and financial obligations.  Forced to get a real job, Jay gives up painting until another artist, a siren named Dee, lures him back.

(Editorial note: There seems to have been a few last-minute changes to the names of the characters and the play itself.  Apologies for any discrepancies.)

Back to the review.  Nelson writes a script that any artist can relate to, and I’m willing to bet at least half of the people at Bread & Circus last night were artists in some medium.  Personally, I was a little disappointed that Jay put down his brushes entirely (for a period) once he put on a suit and went to work, but I’ve always thought sleep was overrated anyway.  But as Nelson’s script shows, we all have to make choices in life.

I liked all the actors, especially Palazzo who very nearly caused the stage to burst into flames playing the smoldering Dee.  De Lucia does a good job as the neglected wife, whose work as a journalist makes her a sell-out in Jay’s eyes.  Shlag does his best work as Jay when he’s the unhappiest real estate agent in the world.

From what I could tell, the rest of the audience enjoyed the show too.  Not even a freak snowstorm kept people away from the show; the house at Bread & Circus was pretty packed.  As Sam told you, the writeNOW! Festival is retiring this year, which always seems to happen to cool things once I discover them.  So, go check it out while you can!


WriteNOW! Festival of New Works is playing at Bread and Circus (299 Augusta Ave) until March 26, 2011
– Shows are at 7.30 and 8.30 with 2 plays each night – see the pivotal(arts) website for the full schedule
– Tickets are $12.00 per show or $20 for an evening of shows
– Tickets are available online and at the door.

One thought on “Review: WriteNOW! Festival, part 2 – pivotal(arts)”

  1. … deanna palazzo had, as you say, a smoldering presence even in early read-throughs of the play. it’s good to hear she was cast. … both ms. palazzo, and ms. de lucia seem, in my experience, like natural born actors, very comfortable with virtually any material they’re asked to perform …

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