Portrait of the Artist

Deco Diva, the one-woman curtain-raiser in the 59E59 Theater's festival of new British plays, has an unusual credit line: written, performed, and painted by Kara Wilson. Over the span of this hourlong, finely etched portrayal of chic Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka, Wilson produces an accomplished copy of one of the artist's most famous oil portraits. It's a gimmick, but one that this veteran Scottish actress employs with panache in her zeal to bring her subject to life. Lempicka makes for a succulent subject, given her penchant for flouting social mores and the intersection of her life with the pivotal historical events of the early 20th century. With her exotic origins, love of luxury, and sexual daring, she embodied the zeitgeist of Paris of the 1920s, when the city was a beacon of personal and artistic freedom.

A Polish-born Russian

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