Theatre Review: ‘Sight Unseen’ at Jewish Repertory Theatre


Peter Palmisano and Josie DiVincenzo in “Sight Unseen” at Jewish Repertory Theatre.

As an art teacher, my students ask me all the time, what makes art, art? This is one of the most difficult questions a student can ask. I almost wish that they would ask me where babies come from, because at least I could tell them to ask their parents. It is a very slippery slope. The reason being because everyone has their own perception of what art is, or what art should be. It is like comedy, everyone will have a different idea. Who is right? Who is wrong? Who knows? This is one of the conversations that takes place in Donald Margulies’ “Sight Unseen” now playing at the Jewish Repertory Theatre.

Great acting, great direction, and great story telling. Go see this show!

Artist Jonathan Waxman (Peter Palmisano) used to be a young, struggling artist, but once fame found him, his work and popularity exploded all over the international art scene, so much in fact that collectors are putting up top dollar to purchase paintings that he hasn’t even started working on yet. When he goes to London for a gallery opening, Jonathan decides to call on a past lover, Patricia (Josie DiVincenzo) and his goal is to apologize for the way that the acted in the past. This brings back a little dirty laundry, especially when Jonathan sees a painting of Patricia that he did, when they first started seeing each other. Throw in Patricia’s husband, Nick (David Lundy) and an art writer (Constance Caldwell) and you have a show that is full of tension, heart, and hilarity.

Director Saul Elkin directs this character study, and keeps the audience engaged, even though very little is happening on stage. Conversations, arguments, and witty banter are tossed around. Elkin does well making sure the audience is vested in these characters.

Leading the show as Jonathan is Peter Palmisano. Palmisano plays the character in an interesting light. He plays a subtle artist, not an eccentric or large personality that I perceived this character to be, but it is an interested choice. It allows Palmisano’s character to arch, and doesn’t allow his performance to fall flat. At first, I thought that this was completely wrong for a character who was suppose to be a snobby creative personality, but it grew on me as the show progressed.

David Lundy as Nick is hilarious. His comedic timing and stage presence are perfect. When Lundy starts laying into Palmisano’s Jonathan about what art is, and why art should cost so much money, the tension is fantastic. Lundy is riveting.

Josie DiVincenzo plays Patricia in this production, and she brings a real heart to her role. She is conflicted throughout the entire story, seeing her ex-lover, and being tossed into this awkward situation with her husband Nick and Jonathan. She adds well to the tension, and is captivating.

Constance Caldwell rounds out the cast as the German art reporter who is trying to make sense of Jonathan’s career, but is met with much hostility. Caldwell does a great job in the role, and complements her fellow actors nicely.

Overall, I really enjoyed this production. Great acting, great direction, and great story telling. Go see this show!

Running Time: 2 Hours with one 10-minute intermission.

Advisory: Language and Suggestive Content

“Sight Unseen” runs until May 13, 2018 and is presented at Jewish Repertory Theatre. For more information, click here.