Reviewed by John Van de Ven

Famous Artist Rudolf Bauer is withdrawn and depressed, he refuses to paint. Bauer’s wife Louise would do anything to help her husband, and struggles to help him find a way out of his malaise. However, when an old friend Hilla von Rebay arrives, she appears to be more an enemy than a friend.

As Hilla and Bauer reminisce about the past, the chemistry between the pair becomes apparent. A rich history unfolds, and a deep friendship is unveiled. After Hilla pleads for Bauer to continue painting, he explains that he can no longer create, claiming that he has gone “blind” to his paints.

Bauer explains how his woes over control over his work, caused by a contract negotiation, had caused him to rebuke painting forever. He claims Hilla can fix this because of her position as the director at the new Guggenheim Art Museum, but Hilla informs him that she won’t be able to help him, and that things have changed in her life.REVIEW: BAT Theatre's 'Bauer' an excellent production that has multiple layers to it 1

Philip Keiman stars as Rudolf Bauer. Keiman does an excellent job portraying the troubled artist. The frustration and anger the artist felt are relived through Keiman’s performance.

Hilla von Rebay, played by Carrie Schnelker, adds some contrast to Keiman’s Bauer. She is a powerful figure that pushes back against Bauer’s snipes and jabs and drives the story to it’s conclusion. Schnelker and Keiman have the chemistry of old friends that haven’t seen each other in a long time.

Michelle Conklin plays Bauer’s wife Louise. She brings a balance between Bauer and Hilla grounding the two ego’s in front of her. She loves Bauer and wants him to feel better and believes that Hilla can help this happen, while she agrees with Hilla that Bauer should start painting again.

Directed by Maggie Larrick and Rochelle Flynn, Bauer is based on playwright Lauren Gunderson’s interpretation of how the artist dealt with a life altering situation. Bauer is an excellent production that has multiple layers to it, and always feels as if there is more bubbling under the surface. I recommend this show to anyone who has enjoyed or participated in the arts, and wants to know more about its history, in particular the history of one of the more obscure artists of the last century.

Bauer is another excellent BAT Theatre production so don’t miss it. There are two more opportunities to catch Bauer this weekend, on Saturday, Oct. 17 and Sunday, Oct. 18. For more information on Bauer and the donation link, please visit:

https://burienactorstheatre.org/shows/shelter-in-place-season-2020/shelter-in-place-season-2-2020/bauer-by-lauren-gunderson

Because this is a different format than most will be familiar with, I will add a few tips to maximize your viewing pleasure:

    • Take advantage of waiting the half hour before the show starts to allow ample time to adjust your settings.
    • Make sure to mute your mic and turn off your webcam if you have one.
    • Make sure that the button in the upper right of your screen says “Speaker View”
    • Pour your favorite beverage, sit back and relax.

While this second season of Shelter-in-Place is not the same as going to see an actual BAT Theatre show, it does offer a number of comforts to the alternative. Snacks and drinks are only limited to what you have at home, clothing is optional, as long as you avoid using your webcam, and you get social distancing approved live theater!

A full list of this seasons productions, along with donation links, can be found at https://battheatre.org/shows/shelter-in-place-season-2020/shelter-in-place-season-2-2020.

The BAT Theatre has been performing shows in the Puget Sound area for over 40 years, and is a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity that relies heavily on ticket revenue, donations and volunteer help.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE & TICKETS:

  • Saturday, Oct. 17: 8 p.m. (event goes online at 7:30 p.m.) TICKETS
  • Sunday, Oct. 18: 2 p.m. (event goes online at 1:30 p.m.) TICKETS