Flower and Bone Productions
 Sign up for Babe Ruth updates/
Contact us:  info@flowerandbone.com

Wickwire impeccable in dazzling O'KEEFFE!
        by Christopher Soden - examiner.com

The good people at Flower and Bone Productions were gracious enough to invite me to see Lucinda McDermott’s one-woman play, O’Keeffe!, fully cognizant of the fact my review could not appear until after it closed its three-day run. As you might expect, O’Keeffe! tells the story of Georgia O’Keeffe, the very plainspoken and disaffected painter who took New York and eventually, the world by storm. Carolyn Wickwire, who plays O’Keeffe, occupies the stage for ninety minutes (two acts with intermission) and never ceases to fix our attention. Ms. Wickwire is intriguing, fascinating, complicated, amusing, wry and heartbreaking. McDermott has chosen to skip over the particulars of O’Keeffe’s background, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Georgia introduces herself right away, explaining nonchalantly that she is dead, her childhood in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin wasn’t especially relevant, and that if we wanted to know anything else, we should go look it up in a book. It sets the tone for the piece which is quite pragmatic, subtle, vivid, anecdotal and occasionally fierce. 

O’Keeffe! is not a tumultuous piece, but gradual, well-paced, with exquisite moments of epiphany and insight. The artist describes her early instruction, her job teaching art to children in El Paso, the inception of her flower paintings and her initiation into the artist’s community in Santa Fe, New Mexico. And, of course, no biographical piece on the life of O’Keeffe would be complete without exploring her mercurial romance with Alfred Stieglitz, the brilliant, exasperating photographer who seduced more than one young lady by photographing her in the nude. His connection to O’Keeffe was simultaneously incendiary and compelling, infuriating and nurturing. Ironically, their friction inspired her to grow and assert herself, as much as it fed her rapacious spirit.

It was such a lovely, illuminating experience to share Georgia O’Keeffe’s journey with Wickwire. Her performance is so confident, frank and relaxed. She inhabits a titanic (though I imagine taciturn) figure like this artist, who stunned viewers and forever changed the face of painting, with grace and radiance. When she climbs a ladder or onto a sofa to share a life-altering moment from her history, it’s almost as if she’s channeling O’Keeffe. It all feels so spontaneous, so genuine, so intelligent. McDermott’s text is perfect for Wickwire, as it expounds on the often harrowing, sometimes quirky, profoundly moving episodes from O’Keeffe’s remarkable life. By sharing her story, simply, directly (yet with quiet panache) Wickwire makes the whole, frantic spectacle accessible. 

​Off the Pedestal

Carolyn Wickwire plays Georgia O’Keeffe in Lucinda McDermott's one-woman play O'Keeffe, produced as an Artist's Project in Theatre Three's basement space.

by Alexandra Bonifield -TheaterJones.com

One-person stage performances based on the lives of famous people tend to fall into two categories: the hopeless—fawning, reverential hero worship; or the excruciating—tedious, linear depiction focused on minutiae, ignoring universal relevance. 

Lucinda McDermott's one-woman show O'Keeffe!, featuring Carolyn Wickwire, escapes both pitfalls. Directed with focused restraint by Ouida White, with costumes by Aaron Patrick Turner and co-produced and designed by Dennis West for Flower and Bone Productions, O'Keeffe is surprisingly fresh and dynamic.

The play reveals the often conflicted inner life and feelings of the world famous artist Georgia O'Keeffe and leaves her well-known body of work well enough alone. Not one Kinko's-enlarged, blurred print nor one clumsily painted attempt at reproduction sullies the performance. 

It's an austere production, minimalist in setting, lights and props, allowing the ideas, dreams and perspectives of O'Keeffe, the woman, to flow through Wickwire's nimble expressions as a masterful, versatile performance artist. Drawing from her voluminous correspondence, interviews and biographies, McDermott introduces O'Keeffe as a ghost, returned to speak directly to an audience. 

The performance offers a pleasing, reflective perspective on the internal life of this unique, ambitious, honest, creative woman. Wickwire transforms herself as she externalizes O'Keeffe's personal world, through direct address or interactive scene recreation. Her Georgia charms and challenges, instructs and admonishes, seduces and engages the audience, always brutally honest and totally committed to her art and the world-class photographer Alfred Stieglitz, her life partner, whom she affectionately calls "Old Crow." 

"Is it me, or is it Stieglitz?" she ponders repeatedly, regarding her imagined work and the fame it engendered. She fades away at the end into her "big, wide, quiet space," murmuring gently, "keep a little something for yourself, as well" to the entranced audience. 

Surely Georgia O'Keeffe would approve.

O'Keeffe returns to life on RCLT stage
   by Vonnie Goss - Roswell Daily Record


   Carolyn Wickwire, professional actress of Dallas' Flower and Bone Productions Inc., managed to return to life the long deceased,consummate artist of the Southwest, Georgia O'Keeffe. On the almost bare stage of the Roswell Community Little Theatre, Wickwire brought strength and energy to a solo performance of a full length play, written by Lucinda McDermott and performed through special permission of Playscripts, Inc. The performance was scheduled at this time in honor of the 125th anniversary of O'Keeffe's birthday, Nov. 15, 1887.
   Wickwire was enchanting as O'Keeffe, who poked delightful fun at her demise, and thoroughly enjoyed her return to familiar aspects of her life. Full of fun and good humor, she was thoroughly likeable:Through abrupt s\witches of costume parts, sweaters,: shawls and hats, the actress brought to life a lady whose art was uniquely personal and valid to her, whether anyone else understood it or not. She moved quickly from the floor, up a ladder, lying on a chaise, but always with youthful enthusiasm. "Don't paint a mountain, paint how the mountain makes you FEEL!" So her artistic skill mingled with her deep feeling for beauty.
   A complex and fascinating person, O'Keeffe astounded the art community wherever she went--whether New York, South Carolina, or Santa Fe. She taught art at various schools, but her lack of patience with officials who insisted that she teach by a textbook soon brought her to another lifestyle. She fell in love with the rogue Alfred Stieglitz, an artistic photographer, who was a determined and forceful man, whom she fought as much as loved. His playboy tendencies she accepted, or endured. She termed these as a display of his "physical side"--but his soul, his heart, was what she loved and valued. Her strength of character and determination brought about an agreement  with Stieglitz for one full year of only painting for her--no other chores or support would be expected. It was a productive year of sheer joy for O'Keeffe.
   The artist found peace--great and wonderful peace--in New Mexico, where the skies, sunsets, and sagebrush enchanted her. However, she often returned to New York City and the location of the Stieglitz gallery on Fifth Avenue. Never one to obey convention, she lived with Stieglitz some eight years prior to their marriage. She always seemed to be "swimming upstream," against the mores of the early 20th century.
   A well-deserved standing ovation followed Carolyn Wickwire's final words as O'Keeffe. The actress had brought about an understanding of an artistic giant of our area. The show provided valuable insight and was a great delight to the audiences!

​‘O’Keeffe!’ portrays artist’s journey to find her voice
​    by Nancy Churnin - Dallas Morning News


There’s danger in how much we allow our understanding of an artist’s work to overlap with our understanding of his or her life.

Even so, after seeing the stirring one-woman show, O’Keeffe!, at WaterTower Theatre, one wonders how the two Georgia O’Keeffe oil paintings on display at the Dallas Museum of Art fit into her narrative.

Grey Blue & Black — Pink Circle, dated 1929, seems an affirmation of life, with its dizzy, sensual feeling of falling inside a giant flower, while Bare Tree Trunks With Snow, painted in 1946, the year her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, died, projects unbowed will amid the ravages of winter.

Lucinda McDermott’s script doesn’t content itself with helping us understand the woman behind the canvas. From the moment the magnetic Carolyn Wickwire strides on the modestly designed set, tells us bluntly that she’s dead and here to set the record straight, it’s clear a bigger goal is afoot. This is the journey of a woman who disdains what she dismissively calls “pretty pictures.”

She’s determined to find her own authentic voice amid the noise of what others say she is and should be. Under Ouida White’s subtle direction, the story emerges as a journey that becomes more thrilling and perilous when O’Keeffe falls in love and has to navigate her passion without losing herself, a challenge she compares to painting two brilliant but distinct colors side by side.

Usually in one-person shows, the actor takes on the voices and mannerisms of other characters. McDermott, in keeping with O’Keeffe’s refusal to be anyone but herself, puts everything in O’Keeffe’s voice. Wickwire makes that work brilliantly by listening intently to the unheard voices at the other end of her conversations.

You know what’s being said by her tender response to the little girl showing off the gap where she lost her tooth. You feel what’s being said like a punch in the gut when O’Keeffe is talking to the family about her own family plans and hears Stieglitz’s emphatic interjection.

You may better appreciate O’Keeffe’s work after the show. More important, in a world where we’re more familiar with portraits of artists as young men, you’ll get an inspiring portrait of the artist as a young, middle-aged and older woman.