Painting Portraits

New Theatre discovers truth! Explains beauty! Wears boat on its head!

Farraday: Portrait of the artist as a young prerevolutionary hippie
Farraday: Portrait of the artist as a young prerevolutionary hippie

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Written by David Caudle. Directed by Ricky J. Martinez. With Sally Bondi, Matthew Leddy, Scott McKinsey, Bill Schwartz, Vanessa Thompson, and Tara Vodihn. Through October 28. New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St, Coral Gables; 305-443-5909, www.new-theatre.org.

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The only less-complex portrait in Likeness is, ironically or not, that of the portraitist. Other characters must face epiphanies, crumble, and bare themselves; Farraday was bare from the beginning. That's the lovely thing about naiveté — it can't lie. Even when one of our favorite characters is hauled off to jail to await an unknown fate, Farraday keeps his eye on the art, and smiles when it's good. And as it always goes with mono-moralistic characters, we can't help but like him. As Farraday explains, "beauty is character," and "character" is what one gets from any assemblage of features that are "unexpected but pleasing." Farraday really would be happier in a hippie commune. But even tarted up in 18th-century clothes, Mr. and Miss Westerly, Miss Preston, and the rest are recognizably inhabitants of the real world — full of character, unexpected and pleasing as one could want. And they're beautiful for it.

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