Da Vinci’s famous painting takes the spotlight at the Kweskin Theatre

We’re all familiar with Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting of a brunette woman sporting a mysterious smile, but now the painting that has left art aficionados around the world puzzling over her grin has inspired a show taking the stage at Curtain Call’s Kweskin Theatre in Stamford.

“Live Drawing: A Portrait of the Mona Lisa,” a fictionalized play that runs May 7-16, is about the three years it took da Vinci to finish painting the world famous “Mona Lisa.”

“Over the past year I’ve read and reread dozens of two-person shows to suit our special Covid safety needs,” said Curtain Call executive director, Lou Ursone. “I turned to many old titles I wanted to revisit, but many others were new to me, including this intriguing play, ‘Live Drawing,’ so I’m glad we’re able to present it now.”

The play tells the speculative tale of da Vinci’s three-year connection with Gioconda. As the two-actor show unravels the audience learns that the painter has personal reasons for wanting to keep the portrait for himself instead of giving it to his Lisa Gioconda’s husband who hired him to create the portrait.

“We see Leonardo and Lisa argue and debate, but they also bare their souls to each other. Thus, a relationship that commences in enmity between artist and subject concludes in the supreme camaraderie between two friends,” the press release states. “The bittersweet ending must come when Leonardo leaves Italy for France to become the king's engineer, separating him from his confidante, Lisa Gioconda.”

“For hundreds of years fans of the Mona Lisa have wondered why she had that mysterious smile, and [author] Jules Tasca answers that question in his intriguing script,” the show’s director John Atkin said.

Celine Montaudy and Tyler Small will take on the two dynamic roles of da Vinci and the Mona Lisa.

Montaudy said she hasn’t previously worked with Small but said “I have loved having a live-in scene partner; to be able to continue the work outside of the rehearsal space and to explore the relationship between Mona and da Vinci with the layered interest of our own history together.”

Small echoed her sentiments and said, “It has been a joy to get back to theater, but doubly so because I get to share the experience with Céline. During quarantine we read through some scripts together, but to be able to do a show in earnest, back on stage is just a blast. I could not have asked for a better person to return to the stage with.”

Atkin said it has been a pleasure to work with Montaudy and Small. “Their commitment in finding the characters, and watching how the characters evolved during the rehearsals, has created a realistic portrayal of those days in da Vinci's studio nearly 500 years ago,” he said.

For more information about the show, visit curtaincallinc.com.

tinamarie.craven@hearstmediact.com