The Pitman Painters
Last nite I went to see The Pitman Painters at the Manhattan Theatre Club. What an amazing show! I was so lucky because my friend Jim is the House Manager there, so I got to see the show, get a tour of backstage, and meet the cast and crew at the after-party!!
The play centers around a group of men who work as coal miners in England around the 1930’s. They are simple, mostly uneducated men who have worked all of their lives as miners. They have no real exposure to art and are pretty ignorant when it comes to the subject. They decide to take an “art appreciation” course, and the teacher is amazed to find that these men know absolutely nothing about the topic! So instead of teaching them art appreciation, where they would analyze and discuss existing paintings, he decides to have them do the painting themselves! And to everyones surprise, their paintings end up being really good. Each of the miners go thru a personal journey of growth and discovery as they experiment with their painting and tried things they never had before. They are forced to think about things and answer questions that had never before crossed their minds.
The play is at times hilarious, touching, and thought provoking. It raises a lot of very interesting questions- such as , “What is the purpose of art?”, “what is the relationship between art and politics?”, does art have to “mean something”, and what makes art “good art”…
The play runs at MTC thru December. I really recommend you go check it out!