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For the week of December 19 - 25, 2001

  Arts & Entertainment

A passionate life

‘Vincent’ returns to the Valley

Express Arts Editor

Passion is a rare commodity. Rare and, perhaps, the lifeblood of art of any kind. It is what makes characters of novels inhabit our lives, paintings take the breath from us, performances change our lives. It is also, if true passion, incorrigible.

Jim Jarrett plays the parts of both Vincent and Theo van Gogh in "Vincent." Courtesy photo

To appreciate passion, consider Vincent van Gogh. He did his first sketch at the age of 28. In nine years, working 14 to 16 hours a night, he created more than 800 paintings—100 of them in the last 70 days of his life. He sold only one painting during his 37 years of life. All of this frenetic activity took place while living in poverty and almost total isolation.

In 1880, the year before he became an artist, van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo: "To try to understand the real significance of what great artists, the serious masters, tell us in their masterpieces, that leads to God."

Talking with Sun Valley resident and actor Jim Jarrett about the seventh year of touring "Vincent," a one-man play about van Gogh, it is clear that Jarrett approaches acting with the same passion that the artist brought to the canvas. Talking to the actor, one can see a character come over him in a flash. And then he is off and running with it. It is obvious that, like van Gogh, Jarrett has found the one and only thing he must do in life.

In the midst of another world-tour of "Vincent," Jarrett will give three performances, Dec. 28-30, 8 p.m. nightly, at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum.

Jarrett is donating all of the proceeds of the shows to the operating budget of the nexStage. Jarrett’s production company is also offering 25 complimentary tickets each night to artists of the valley.

The tour for "Vincent" is booked two years in advance. From Ketchum, Jarrett will go to New York, Europe, St. Croix, Australia and Malaysia.

Jarrett is doing the benefit shows because he feels that what valley residents Tim and Mary Mott did in buying the nexStage, in essence for the community, was "incredibly gracious." While the Mott family has been underwriting the operating costs to date, they hope to turn that responsibility over to the community at large in 2002. Jarrett said he is trying to do his part in kicking off that campaign.

The play "Vincent" was written by Leonard Nimoy after he pored over 1,670 pages of letters between Vincent and Theo. The latter was a successful art dealer who supported van Gogh, both emotionally and financially. Every night after painting, the artist would write to his brother, revealing all of his artistic struggles and hopes. When van Gogh died he was in Theo’s arms. Six months later Theo himself died, leaving behind a wife and child.

The story is told by Theo in July of 1890, one week after his brother has died. Theo has rented a Paris lecture hall and has invited artists and friends to listen to him try to give voice to his brother’s life and to express his feelings for him.

In the production of "Vincent," Jarrett plays the parts of both Theo and Vincent. He also makes great use of slide montages throughout the show.

Tickets may be purchased by calling the nexStage Theatre at 726-9124.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.