Dale Strange, Joshua Loren & Phil Lynch in Art.
Photo -Bunbury Theatre
By Yazmina Reza
Directed by Madison Cork
Review by Keith Waits.
Entire contents copyright © 2014 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.
One of the best plays from one of the best modern playwrights closes Bunbury’s season in a lively production.
Yazmina Reza’s Art takes a satirical perspective on art and friendship by examining the impact the purchase of an all-white painting has on the dynamic between Serge, Marc & Yvan. Fashionable Serge spent $200.000 on the canvas, outraging the more conservative Marc and putting the malleable Yvan in the middle of a heady and increasingly vociferous debate about the subjectivity of taste.
It is a succinct script that only gets a little fancy at times, but it is reaching past the obvious ideas about the vacuosness of modern art to get at something about the value of friendship in examining our innermost selves. How much the play penetrates can be obscured somewhat by how downright funny it is. A lean and tidy 90 minutes with intermission, it functions as engaging entertainment that is thoughtful and challenging as well.
Art is also a showcase for the three actors, and Dale Strange does perhaps the best work I have seen from him, lending Serge a delightful, ingratiating flamboyance. The man has a way with two white handkerchiefs. Phil Lynch makes sense of Marc’s intransigence so that he becomes the other side of a coin with Serge. Joshua Loren takes risk by making Yvan a broad comic foil for the other two without sacrificing the character’s integrity.
The set by Steve Woodring delivers the type of painfully, self-consciously modern apartment that forcefully suggests pretentiousness and snobbery with white, black and acrylic furnishings. Musical choices underscore the bland, determinedly inoffensive aesthetic, and all of the design work blends together beautifully to communicate the world of these characters.
In the end, Reza provides a satisfying conclusion by breaking through barriers in a way that gives a measure of hope, but not before some provocative questions have been embedded in the audience’s mind.
June 6-15, 2014
For Tickets go to bunburytheatre.com
Bunbury Theatre Company at
The Henry Clay Theatre
604 South Third Street