Published Fri, Oct 5, 2012 8:34 am Dateline
We'll never know what Johannes Vermeer would have made of The Big Apple, but New York City theater critics are certainly fond of a play named after one of the Dutch artist's famous works.
Ohio University graduate student Mark Chrisler’s play The Art of Painting was featured this past summer as part of the New York International Fringe Festival, receiving rave reviews from The New York Times, Backstage and nytheater.com.
The one-man show focuses on Vermeer and a famous Vermeer forger who sold his fakes to the Nazis during World War II.
"It's given under the guise of being an art history lecture," says Chrisler. "It's very far off the facts in a lot of ways, though."
The play focuses on the parallels of bitterness and feelings of failure that Vermeer, the forger and the forger’s son felt.
It was originally written as a commission for the Curious Theatre Branch in Chicago, where it had a few short runs.
"I really liked the piece, but had never gotten the exposure I wanted for it," said Chrisler.
Chrisler’s friend, Tim Racine, encouraged him to submit the play to the Fringe Festival. Racine became the show’s producer and director for its New York run.
While Chrisler originally went to college to study acting, playwriting caught his eye instead.
"I liked to perform, I liked being on stage," he said. "But I had also been writing a bit, and the two started to coalesce."
After finishing his graduate studies at OU, Chrisler plans on going to New York to further his career alongside his fiancee, who is an actress.
He said the success at the Fringe Festival has provided him with a network that could become a starting base in New York.
For more information on Mark Chrisler and The Art of Painting, visit www.markchrisler.com.