Inventing Van Gogh unleashes a torrent of ideas about art -- possibly enough for a dozen plays. But its primary achievement is illuminating the artist's struggle to wrench meaning from a recalcitrant world, and to ransom his own soul. Steven Dietz's script incorporates historical fact without lecturing; bits of Vincent van Gogh's letters erupt into the text like cries from the grave. We're told that by the time van Gogh created his later works, he was squeezing paint directly onto the canvas rather than using a brush, and shaping it with such force that it retained fragments of his fingernails. There's something of this intensity in the form and content of the play itself, with its swirling structure, density of allusion and furious commitment to discovery.
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