Aired on KSDS-FM on 10/7/16
RUN DATES: 9/29/16 – 11/6/16
VENUE: Intrepid Theatre
Art as provocation. Typically, the outrage is political. But in Yazmina Reza’s Tony Award-winning play, “Art,” the affront is personal.
Marc, Serge and Yvan have been best friends for 15 years. But when Serge pays an outrageous amount — $200,000 — for what appears to be a 5-foot by 4-foot solid white painting, Marc is incensed. His reaction threatens to unravel the relationship.
There are discussions about esthetics and taste. Marc is rigid and condescending. Serge thinks he’s a connoisseur of modern art. Yvan, less educated and professionally successful than the other two, is caught in the middle of this battle royal of witty, biting words.
But beneath it all, there’s a roiling midlife crisis lurking in each of these men. Serge is divorced, Marc has a mate that Serge can’t stand. And poor easygoing Yvan, two weeks from his wedding, is torn between the battling mothers, stepmothers and wife-to-be.
The painting is the precipitator that brings all the angst to the surface. Yvan has a meltdown, Marc admits feeling rejected, and the three friends wind up rolling around the floor in a full-on fight.
Ultimately, they have to decide what they’re fighting for and about – the art or the friendship.
Under the assured, text- and character-driven direction of Christy Yael-Cox, this Intrepid Theatre production opens the company’s 7th season in its new home at the Horton Grand Theatre downtown.
It’s a splendid verbal and physical slugfest, and the three actors – Jason Heil, Daren Scott and Jacob Bruce – play off each other brilliantly, in cutting remarks, clever repartee and incisive soliloquies.
The design is spare, as suggested in the play, originally written in French, and translated by Christopher Hampton. It might be more potent, as in other productions I’ve seen, if the audience doesn’t actually glimpse the incendiary painting until a climactic moment late in the play. The art hanging in the other two apartments could be more character-defining. But these are minor quibbles. The production is very strong.
This robust, acidic and language-rich comedy has dark undertones. It just might make you come away pondering what art – and friendship – are worth to you.
©2016 PAT LAUNER, San Diego Theater Reviews