Alan Jones

Under Troubled Skies


Under Troubled Skies is a play about Vincent Van Gogh. It explores his despairing self image and self worth, and his relationship with his brother Theo. lt centres around a set of events that lead to Vincent’s final degeneration.

It opens in the present day at an auction of one of Van Gogh’s paintings.

The main action takes place in a room in Dr. Gachet’s house, where Vincent comes to paint the Doctor’s portrait. Vincent’s confused and manic state holds a great fascination for the doctor, who derives a vicarious sense of involvement in the artistic process through his contact with a number of artists.

Left alone to work on the portrait, Vincent is disturbed by Guillaume, who spends his life in a cupboard under the stairs. He is another of Dr. Gachet’s lost souls, ugly and deformed, he has born cruelty and abuse all his life. He is a damaged individual, and life restricted to a dark place has become as much as he asks for in life. But he has a strange, child-like understanding of all that troubles Vincent. He has eavesdropped on the long conversations with Dr. Gachet, and he reveals a kindred spirit, which Vincent warms to. But Guillaume has no social skills and always speaks his thoughts simply and with no modification. His frankness touches on the main issue in Vincent’s life - his relationship with his brother Theo.

When he realises that Guillaume is not his brother, he looses his temper and, in a frenzy, attacks Guillaume and, at once in despair, thinks he has killed him.  Vincent flees the room and Guillaume revives.  A shot is heard off stage as the auctioneer completes the sale of the portrait of Dr. Gachet


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