Ciao Fun

Terrence McNally takes us on a Florentine joy ride

French novelist Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle) was so overwhelmed by Florence, Italy, that he reported: "I felt a pulsating in my heart. Life was draining out of me, while I walked, fearing a fall.” A reaction to a tainted spinach-and-egg dish? Mais non! Stendhal’s near-swoon had to do with Florentine art. Terrence McNally’s diptych The Stendhal Syndrome, courtesy of Artists’ Theatre Project, examines the power of art to buckle the knees.

McNally’s two takes: American tourists versus Michelangelo’s David in the cheekily titled Full Frontal Nudity and, in Prelude and Liebstod, a conductor face-to-face with his failed life as he wields the baton during a performance of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. McNally, protégé of Edward Albee and winner of four Tony Awards, serves up smart art with arch wit on the side.

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The show at 8 p.m. September 13 is a pay-what-you-can preview.

Sept. 13-30, 2007
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