ARTIST, WRITER and peace activist Tom Block keeps surprising the world. From eye-opening paintings of great spiritual leaders to unusual theatrical works to historical analysis to activist manifestos, Tom is hammering away at a core flaw in civilization: the intersection of religion and violence.
At first glance, there might not seem to be anything classical about Tom Block’s style. The densely layered work in his “Jiwar,” at the Fridge, combines painting, collage and child-like drawing to suggest an urban wall layered with graffiti and tattered old posters.
“Today’s prophet must look good in a suit and tie, and speak well at cocktail parties,” says the character Todd from Tom Block’s new play “Butterfly,” which premiered Wednesday at the Takoma Park Community Center.
Butterfly is a story about the prophet Todd (Michael Mack), son of the prophet Jules (Ken Jackson), on the last day of his life. Todd lives with his mother (Gigi Buscaglio) and has but a single follower, a nervous young Serbian refugee called Jan (Stephen Backus), yet he is supernally arrogant.
Walking into the Takoma Park Community Center Theater, it’s possible to tell right away that there is something unsettling about Tom Block’s new play, Butterfly, directed by Roselie Vasquez-Yetter, who also provided the set design.
Silver Spring artist spreads his wings with latest work
After establishing himself as a well-respected painter in the local art community, Block has published two books, “Shalom/Salaam: A Story of a Mystical Fraternity” in 2010 and “A Fatal Addiction: War in the Name of God” in 2012.Silver Spring resident Tom Block is a bit of a renaissance man.
Playwright, author and visual artist Tom Block began writing plays a few years ago. His work immediately attracted the attention of Wanderlust Theater Lab’s founder Roselie Vasquez-Yetter. She led Tom’s first play, White Noise through a series of readings and then to production last June.
White Noise, performed by Wanderlust Theatre at the Fridge this weekend, is a play that’s impossible to separate from the exhibit of paintings by DC artist Tom Block. So I’ll begin by describing the paintings themselves.