On Monday 5 March 2018 a rather unusual event happened at Tate Britain. After the venerable museum closed its doors to the public, and reopened to a group of special friends, a rehearsed reading of Peter Lantos’s fourth play, Light and Shadow took place in the Tissot Room of the exhibition of Impressionists in London.
This play was written well before the exhibition was even conceived, but its presentation in a room full of Tissot’s pictures was an extraordinarily happy coincidence. The play is the story of Tissot’s extraordinary love affair with Kate Newton – the muse of many of his paintings – a beautiful, divorced, Irish Catholic with an illegitimate child. Their love survived the official prejudices of the puritanical Victorian era and only ended with Kate’s premature death. Tissot, the most successful chronicler of London’s social life left for Paris after three days of mourning, never to return.
The play was directed by Sarah Berger in the production of the So and So Arts Club. Ben Porter played Tissot, and Georgie Oulton was Kate. Other actors included Jessica Claire, Nigel Fairs, Sian E Green and George Potts.