The Civilians Presents PAUL SWAN IS DEAD AND GONE by Claire Kiechel, Directed by Stephen Cosson, Choreographed by Daniel Safer. April 25-May 19th at Torn Page. Tues-Sat 8pm, Sat & Sun 4pm. Tickets and Info at http://thecivilians.org/upcoming/paul-swan-is-dead-and-gone/
Dancing as a young man in Europe, Paul Swan was billed as “The Most Beautiful Man in the World.” Decades later, as an old man still wearing the same revealing neo-classical costumes, he looked into Andy Warhol’s camera and declared, “I am the most famous unknown person in New York.” Indeed, while Swan never achieved the recognition he desired as a modern Renaissance man–painter, sculptor, poet, dancer, etc.–he achieved a different kind of fame, largely through weekly salons held in his studio atop Carnegie Hall, every Saturday from the 1930’s through the 60’s. As the years progressed (and as Swan added layers of pancake make-up and black shoe polish), the tragic, the camp and the sublime intertwined to create his greatest artwork–himself. Playwright Claire Kiechel has a personal stake in Paul Swan; he is her great-great uncle. And in Paul Swan is Dead and Gone, she resurrects her ancestor’s salon and re-imagines it as an electrically charged theatrical space where the forces of life, death and art do battle. Each night, The Civilians’ production offers a small audience an intimate, immersive salon experience. As the audience crosses the threshold into a Chelsea brownstone, they will be transported to the aesthetic world of Swan’s creation brought to life by actors Tony Torn, Robert Johanson, Helen Cespedes and Alexis Scott, designers Andromache Chalfant, Lucrecia Briceño and others. It’s a show not to be missed, for the main attraction, Paul Swan, may well be already dead.