Matthew Reddin

In Tandem’s “Art of Murder”

By - Oct 20th, 2010 04:00 am

Some murders are sloppy, crude affairs. Others are brilliant, well-crafted feats of majestic evil — works of art, in a twisted way.

Chris Flieller, Artistic Director of In Tandem Theatre. Photo courtesy of website.

That sort of lethal conceit and intrigue is behind In Tandem Theatre’s The Art of Murder, which opens the company’s season at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22. (The pay-what-you-can preview performance starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.)

Playwright Joe DiPietro spun a web of mystery around four characters: famous artist Jack Brooks; his wife, Annie, a less-famous artist; Vincent, Jack’s art dealer; and Kate, the Brooks’ housekeeper. As the play opens, the artist couple waits for Vincent to arrive. Murderous intent become apparent, but vague. They want to kill someone, but whom?

In Tandem co-founder Chris Flieller says the play’s multiple twists and turns of this comedy-thriller appealed to him. You’re likely to root for the wife, at first, Flieller said, because Jack is the sort of guy you love to hate. And the art dealer’s callousness will appall you.

Flieller wouldn’t give too much away — Art of Murder is a mystery, after all. But he did say that sympathies can change over the course of a play. Characters can shift their alliances. And he did say a central themes is the nature and value of celebrity in the art world. He characterizes Jack as an egomaniac who’s “very good at being seen in the right clubs,” while Annie is going through an identity crisis as an artist stuck with relative non-celebrity status.

Flieller says the show’s comedic elements give the dark plot plenty of relief: “It is good fun. Kind of like a roller coaster. But you don’t often get to witness a drowning on stage.”

The Art of Murder opens at the Tenth Street Theatre, 628 N. 10th St. Friday, Oct. 22, and runs through Nov. 7. Tickets are $25 for Friday and Saturday nights and $20 for Wednesday and Thursday nights and matinees, with a 10 percent discount for seniors and students, at the Tenth Street box office, 414-271-1371 or at the In Tandem website. The cast: Steven Koehler, Tiffany Vance, T. Stacy Hicks, Elizabeth Shipe.

Categories: A/C Feature 3, Theater

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