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First Impressions

Art history is full of compelling side trips, including the story of the complex relationship between transitional painter Edouard Manet and impressionist Berthe Morisot, a unique friendship not unlike that of their contemporaries Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas. Manet was both friend and mentor to Morisot, and, after she married Eugène Manet, her brother-in-law, as well; he painted eleven portraits of her over time, and though rumors exist about the full extent of their relationship, no one can really be certain where its parameters began or ended.

Local playwright William Kovacsik came to appreciate the drama in their saga, which comes to life in his play Morisot Reclining, a story that unfolds through narration by the characters of Degas and Cassatt, augmented visually by a projected backdrop of paintings by all four artists. After three years of workshopping with the playwright, the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, will present a world premiere of the work, beginning April 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder.

“It’s a beautiful story that will resonate in the Boulder area because of the strong artistic community in the area,” says Stephen Weitz of the BETC, who portrays Manet in the play. “[Kovacsik] uses the paintings as a jumping-off place to explore the relationship between Manet and Morisot. It’s rooted in historical fact, with a touch of dramatic license about what each painting means.”

Morisot Reclining continues Thursdays through Sundays until May 9; for tickets, $15 to $20, and showtimes, log on to or call the Dairy at 303-440-7826.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Starts: April 23. Continues through May 9, 2009


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