May 13th, 2021

Gallery Theater Reopens with Novecento

The actor, Lance Nuttman stands in the glow of theater lights with a simple set behind him.
Lance Nuttman as Tim Tooney at Salem’s Verona Studio in 2017.
Photo credit: Nicole Holmes

Actor Lance Nuttman was about a dozen pages into reading Alessandro Baricco’s 1-act, 1-actor play Novecento a few years ago when he realized he’d discovered a wonderful and magical story with a lot going on in it. 

He performed it at Salem’s Verona Studio in 2017, and folks lucky enough to have seen it then still offer raves that sound like they saw it yesterday, and that being reminded of it takes their breath away all over again.

There’s reason to celebrate: After more than a year in the dark, Gallery Theater returns to live theater on stage with Nuttman returning to the role of trumpeter Tim Tooney, who weaves the strange tale of Novecento, a gifted pianist who spends his entire life aboard a cruise ship.

“I love these characters,” Nuttman told me before one of his first on-stage rehearsals in April, with his friend and fellow thespian, Salem’s Ed Schoaps returning as director. During our conversation, he realizes at one point that he’s started speaking as one of them. Novecento isn’t the only character in the play, there are several — and Nuttman plays all of them.

The play was first performed in London in 2010 and has since been made into a film with Tim Roth as the mysterious Novecento. The late, legendary film composer Ennio Morricone won a Golden Globe for his film score, and the play uses music from the film. The show runs about 90 minutes and doesn’t include an intermission. 

So … the elephant in the room: Covid-19. If this is your first night out since the pandemic and you’re wondering how this works, know that Gallery has put a lot of thought into how live indoor events will be conducted. Company and audience safety is a priority. 

Gallery has put Novecento on the main stage, so a limited audience can be safely spread out. Masks are required and someone will take your temperature upon arrival. Bandannas and gaiters don’t count; per rules set by the Oregon OSHA, it’s got to be a mask. Concessions will not be sold, but the restrooms will be available.

Treat yourself to a night of magical realism and a terrific, mesmerizing story, told by one of the Willamette Valley’s finest actors. 

Novecento, by Alessandrio Barrico and translated by Ann Goldstein, plays at Gallery Theater May 28-June 13, with Friday/Saturday curtains at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults 18+ and $16 for youth 5-17 and seniors 62+. For tickets or more info, call 503-472-2227. 

A cartoon of David Bates

David Bates is a McMinnville writer who has appeared in Gallery Theater productions since 1998.