Looking for the coolest events in the Hudson Valley this week? Find our curated picks here.

Celebrated French Play Pollock Comes to PS21’s Black Box Theater


Oct 6, 2019
02:00 PM until 03:30 PM


The life, mythology, and volatile relationship of the towering 20th-century painter Jackson Pollock and his likewise talented and enigmatic wife Lee Krasner come to life in Pollock on PS21’s Black Box Theater stage October 4 - 6. After premiering in New York in Feb 2018 with rave reviews, and hot off a tour of France’s Normandy region, the play by acclaimed French playwright Fabrice Melquiot and directed by Paul Desveaux stars Jim Fletcher as Pollock and Michelle Stern as Krasner. For more information go to PS21 is a beautiful new performance venue set in 80 acres of apple orchards, that includes both a traditional proscenium stage with open-air seating and a pavilion roof and an intimate black-box theater that operates year-round. 


Jackson Pollock has come to embody the overtly masculine, doomed artistic genius and Krasner the muse and steadying force that kept him afloat, but in Pollock, we are presented with a deeper look at the inner workings of this famous couple’s relationship. The play unravels their world in a manner not unlike the Abstract Expressionist paintings they created — in a nonlinear, experimental, and abstract fashion. The New York Times calls Pollock “tactile, kinetic, carnal...a duet, a double act, a surreal sparring match steeped in alcohol and dripping with paint.”


Many of the scenes and much of the dialogue in this 75-minute play were inspired by real episodes, as Melquiot and Desveaux drip, scratch, and splatter the elements together to create a stunning theatrical canvas as the combative couple sort through the Pollock myth.


“This play might be called a contemporary tragedy, but underlying such a classification is one fundamental inquiry which gives the piece meaning: the question of artistic creation,” said Desveaux, the play’s director. “It is impossible to fully understand the brilliance and madness of Jackson Pollock without studying his marriage to Lee Krasner, a talented artist in her own right.” 


Pollock is a production of Compagnie de La Vallée/L’héliotrope, co-presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S. and PS21 Chatham. In the theater field, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy aims to highlight the work of French playwrights – both in French and English translation – for a broad American audience.  


Jim Fletcher (Jackson Pollock) has worked with Richard Maxwell and the New York City Players for over 15 years. This past year he performed in the Wooster Group's production of A Pink Chair and in Shaun Irons’ and Lauren Petty's Why Why Always at Abrons Arts Center. He has appeared in the films of Kamal Ahmed, Linas Phillips, Zbigniew Bszymek, and Roland Ellis, and in Tony Oursler's Imponderable.


Michelle Stern (Lee Krasner) was co-founder, performer, and producer of the NYC-based visual and performance art company, GAle GAtes et al. She has performed with a variety of downtown artists, including The Wooster Group. As a producer, Michelle produced Yehuda Duenyas’ The Ascent, was Line Producer of Curran Under Construction, produced the street installations for Diana Oh’s {my lingerie play}, and was line producer/company manager for Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music in Brooklyn, and Company Manager for the show’s international tour. She produced the technology/live staging of the PSA, Love Has No Labels, winning a 2016 Emmy Award.


The multi-award-winning playwright Fabrice Melquiot has published nearly forty plays with L’Arche Editeur. Among his many awards are two from the Syndicat National de la Critique, France and the Prix Théâtre de l’Académie Française, which he received in 2008 for his entire body of work. He has worked closely with director Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota for many years and continues to collaborate with Demarcy-Mota as current Director of Theatre de la Ville, Paris. His texts have been translated and performed in a dozen languages. Since 2012, he has served as director of Théâtre Am Stram Gram in Geneva, International Center of Creation for Children and Youth.


Paul Desveaux is the director of Compagnie L'héliotrope, founded in 1997. Desveaux has staged a large repertoire of works by authors including Frank Wedekind, A. Ostrovski, A. Tchekhov, Nathalie Sarraute, and Fabrice Melquiot. He has also directed trans-disciplinary projects such as Philip Glass’ opera Les Enfants Terribles (2007), worked with Ensemble Intercontemporain on the opera Hypermusic Prologue (2009) by Hector Parra, and collaborated with scientist Lisa Randall and filmmaker Santiago Otheguy on Vraie Blonde et autres by Jack Kerouac (2002/2004). Desveaux has developed a regular collaboration with the choreographer Yano Iatridès and the composer Vincent Artaud. In the past two years, he directed Lulu by Frank Wedekind and Le Garçon du dernier rang by Juan Mayorga. His next production, Diane Arbus Self Portrait -- Melquiot's third play based on iconic American artists - will premiere in January 2020 in France.


During the Sunday, Oct. 6 performance, guests can drop off their children at the PS21 Dance Barn for a collage-making workshop, inspired by Lee Krasner's artistic output. Following this performance the audience is invited to a reception with the artists, en plein air, to celebrate autumn, apples, the landscape, and the year’s harvest. 


Before all of the performances, guests are invited to wander the beautiful grounds and catch one of the stunning sunsets the Hudson Valley is famous for. Enjoy a glass of wine, craft beer or cider, and snack on local cheeses or other treats all available at Cafe PAULS'. The cafe is open beginning one hour before the show and during intermission.


Go beyond the modern myth of Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner and explore their deeper truths in this expressionist masterpiece on the PS21 stage. Tickets for Friday, Oct. 4 at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 6 at 2:00 p.m. go on sale in September. This production will be inside the Black Box Theater. For tickets and more information visit PS21 is located at 2980 NY-66, Chatham, NY 12037. 



$10 - $40


View map PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century
2980 Route 66
Chatham, NY

Additional Information


PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century



Contact name

Sam Reilly

Contact email





We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information.

Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit Module