Royal Palm Players island favorite Charlie Tyler takes on one of the most challenging roles of his community theater career in the season-opening one-man show, "Vincent."
The show based on the life on Vincent Van Gogh is a tour de force, said RPP Artistic Director Michele Strauss.
"The show is extraordinary and Charlie is an amazing actor," Strauss said.
Van Gogh's controversial life story has inspired art lovers, biographers and movie makers for generations. Penniless and considered a madman at the time of his death in 1890, his paintings have sold for hundreds of millions of dollars since and he is considered to be the best Dutch painter after Rembrandt.
His famous severed ear might be the most intriguing self-mutilation in history and begs the question: Was he an inspired lunatic, an illness-enhanced artist or simply a tortured genius well ahead of his time?
" 'Vincent' will give you an insight into one of the great artists of our time, one whose work was virtually worthless in his lifetime," Tyler said.
What: 'Vincent' starring Charlie Tyler
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 17-19, 2 p.m. Nov. 20
Where: Boca Grande Community Center, 131 First St.
Contact: Call (941) 964-2670, e-mail RoyalPalmPlayers@embarqmail.com or go to RoyalPalmPlayers.com or www.ticketturtle.com.
Who: Art historian Samantha Parkinson coordinator of the Englewood Art Center
What: history presentation on Vincent Van Gogh
When: 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18
Where: Boca Grande Art Alliance Center, 236 Banyan St.
Cost: Free with suggested $5 donation
The visuals that go with the production are stunning with reproductions of drawings and letters, including dozens of images of his greatest works done in France as his life is drawing to a close.
Was Vincent Van Gogh insane?
"I don't think so," Tyler said. "It's been pretty well concluded that he had temporal lobe epilepsy, a congenital disease. There was certainly a history of mental illness in his own family and he was a difficult person from the get-go. But the guy was a brilliant. Yes, he was sick with a disease, epilepsy, but he was not a madman."
Tyler admits the one-man show pushes him to the edge.
"They say life begins at the end of your comfort zone," he said. "I've never done something like this before. It's a deeper role for me. It's given me lot of chance to research and read and immerse myself in the relationship between Van Gogh and his brother, which was detailed in more than 600 letters sent back and forth."
The Boca Grande Art Alliance is also all about Van Gogh with its brief presentation by historian Samantha Parkinson coordinator of the Englewood Art Center. Parkinson's free lecture, in conjunction with the RPP, will begin at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, the afternoon of the second showing of "Vincent."