Actor Stephen Collins returns to the Camden Public Library on Tuesday, December 5, at 7:00 pm, for this free performance. He will be in character as James McNeill Whistler. Whistler was an American artist, active during the American Gilded Age and based primarily in the United Kingdom. Finding a parallel between painting and music, Whistler entitled many of his paintings “arrangements”, “harmonies”, and “nocturnes”, emphasizing the primacy of tonal harmony. His most famous painting is Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (1871), commonly known as Whistler’s Mother. Whistler influenced the art world and the broader culture of his time with his artistic theories and his friendships with leading artists and writers.
“Butterfly” is a one-man show about the life and times of James McNeill Whistler, the volatile American Artist who struggled mostly in Victorian England for personal expression in the arts and artistic freedom. The play depicts Whistler at two phases of his life, first as a bankrupt artist in his forties in Venice on commission and then as the established but lonely legend in his sixties in London. The play ends with Whistler describing to the audience how it was he came to paint the iconic portrait of his mother. The play was written and directed by Carl A. Rossi.
Mr. Collins’ performances deliver not just the poetry and plays, but they bring poets, artists, and playwrights to life on the stage. The shows also convey an understanding of the impact and the reactions of the characters to their respective times, giving the audience not just a performance, but an experience.