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Art

a Comedy/Drama
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by Yasmina Reza

COMPANY : Out of Box Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Artisan Resource Center
ID# 4557

SHOWING : March 14, 2014 - March 29, 2014

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

"Art," by provocative playwright Yasmina Reza ("God of Carnage"), focuses on three men whose 15-year friendship is tested when one of them buys an expensive modern painting that appears to be nothing more than a completely white canvas. This inspires markedly different reactions from each of the men, and sparks fly as they express their differing opinions on art. As the argument moves from aesthetics to something deeper, this witty and insightful comedy explores the extent to which our identities are shaped by our social circle, and reveals how friendships can be shaken up by the most unexpected events. Art picked up a Tony Award for Best Play in 1998.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Carolyn Choe
Scenic Designer Christopher Shane Dills
Ivan Aaron Christopher
Marc Dave Lauby
Serge John Stanier
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REVIEWS

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Smart Art
by playgoer
Saturday, March 15, 2014
4.5
Out of Box Theatre’s production of "Art" is a smart, well-directed journey of three friends through the conflicts arising from differing views on an expensive white-on-white painting. Serge has bought it; Marc thinks it is an absurd waste of money; and Ivan is too preoccupied with parent/in-law conflicts concerning his upcoming wedding to spend much time considering it. The action takes place over a short, indeterminate period of time and the play has no intermission, despite its running time of slightly over 90 minutes.

The script by Yasmina Reza shows its French roots with its talky, intellectual style of writing, but there’s plenty of action too. Director Carolyn Choe has directed the play with a fluidity of motion that keeps things interesting throughout.

The set, designed by Christopher S. Dills is simple and elegant, contrasting the whiteness of the furniture with a gray back wall and an earth-toned area rug. The set represents the apartments of each of the men in turn, with a single piece of artwork delineating the location visually. The sophisticated lighting scheme, designed by Jonathan Liles and Connor Choe, works effectively in the space, with individual locations spot-lit for opening and closing monologues by the cast members.

As for the acting that happens on the set and under the lights, well, it’s about as good as you could wish. Dave Lauby and John Stanier, as Marc and Serge, set up the situation with assurance and humor. Aaron Christopher, as Ivan, enters slightly later as a force of nature, with a tour-de-force monologue. The interactions that occur ring true throughout, and the chemistry evident in the opening night performance is likely to deepen and develop more nuances as the run continues.

The lines are well-delivered, but the reactions to the lines are equally noteworthy. Even the silent moment when Ivan first sees the painting is filled with expressiveness. The actors are invested in the action, and that in turn causes the audience to be engaged in the action. Carolyn Choe has done a splendid job of turning words on the page into engrossing action on the stage. Kudos to all!
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