The Masters

Jack, a former executive, is now in a boot camp for the arts, getting his butt kicked by the embodied spirits of Kandinsky, Rilke, Beethoven, and a few more dead masters. According to them they’re coaching him, but at what point does coaching become coercive possession? When Jack gets distracted by a voluptuous new neighbor who happens to own a gallery, Kandinsky tries to save him from the corrupting influence of commerce (both sexual and economic), while Rilke stealthily fans Jack’s flames of lust. This premiere by Jesse Putnam, directed by Jeffrey Woodbridge, makes you work for what you’ll get. The first half’s talky, low-energy architecture sets up a more dynamic ride in the second half, when the stakes start to matter. Anyone who has so much as dabbled in the arts will understand the dilemma of whether, if you had to choose one or the other, to consort with gods or with men. MARGARET FRIEDMAN

Thursdays, 7 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Aug. 6. Continues through Aug. 30, 2009

 
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