ABSTRACT NUDE

An enigmatic, erotically-charged portrait seems to reveal more about the people who view it than it reveals about itself. As the painting moves backward in time, it passes from owner to owner, exploding the lives of everyone who encounters it. In one home, the portrait tips the balance in a barely-suppressed power struggle among the members of a well-to-do family. In another, it awakens a great deal of...
An enigmatic, erotically-charged portrait seems to reveal more about the people who view it than it reveals about itself. As the painting moves backward in time, it passes from owner to owner, exploding the lives of everyone who encounters it. In one home, the portrait tips the balance in a barely-suppressed power struggle among the members of a well-to-do family. In another, it awakens a great deal of confusion—and passion—between two former fraternity brothers. In the home of the portrait’s subject, it inspires nothing but unrequited love and alienation between two dear friends. And finally, back in the moment of its creation, where the story both ends and begins, the painting incites a terrible violence… the tragedy that haunts it wherever it travels, and that cannot be escaped.

“Dextrous theatricality and unexpected pleasure… bowled over by the suppleness of the writing.” — Peter Marks, Washington Post
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ABSTRACT NUDE

Recommended by

  • Matthew Weaver:
    8 Dec. 2016
    Mesmerizing. The playwright shows great affection and understanding of his characters, interwoven together in fascinating ways. I was able to find a video online of the live-streamed digital play and was unable to stop watching. Suilebhan paints with a master's touch, folding and unfolding the actions of flawed, passionate, frustrated, yearning people.
  • Jason Aaron Goldberg:
    7 Dec. 2016
    As with all of Gwydion's work, this is a strong piece of literature. He paints with precise skill. A great play with a cast size that serves theatres very well. Being about art and it's subjective nature, this is a wonderful piece to spark and further the discussion on the vital importance of art itself.
  • Donna Hoke:
    29 Jun. 2015
    A favorite from Gwydion, and a play that shows us that there is never one right answer, one interpretation, and that we can never expect to all see things the same way--but we learn to live with that or accept the consequences.

Character Information

  • Lola
    late 20s,
    Female
  • Hank (Henrietta)
    mid 30s,
    Female
  • Buggy
    early 20s,
    Male
  • Tyler
    early 20s,
    Male
  • Mark
    early 50s,
    White
    ,
    Male
  • Genevieve
    early 40s,
    White
    ,
    Female
  • Edward
    teens,
    White
    ,
    Male

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Capitol Fringe Festival
    ,
    2006

Production History

  • Professional
    ,
    Virtual Arts TV/Secret Theatre
    ,
    2013
  • Workshop
    ,
    Capitol Fringe Festival
    ,
    2007

Awards

Judges' Choice
,
Best Play
,
Washington Theatre Festival
Honorable Mention
,
Moving Arts Award