Friendship Comedy Art by Yasmina Reza
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The last date listed for Art was Sunday February 1, 2009 / 2:00pm.
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Featured review from Marty Nemko
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An axiom in selecting plays for community theatres is that most audiences simply want a diversion: a fluffy comedy, a non-intellectual mystery (e.g., The Mousetrap), or a musical.
The biggest box office risk is a play whose only purpose is to make you think, and riskiest of all, a play that doesn't pander to the politically correct views pervasive among Bay Area audiences.
So, it is much to Altarena Theatre's credit that it chose to do the play, Art. It examines, with reasonable fairness, such issues as materialism, modernity (Is it novelty for novelty's sake rather than for improvement?), and whether very astute listening skills is an unmitigated good. I particularly liked that latter issue because intelligent people unquestionably think it's true--and as the play reveals, it may not to be. Great script.
So why didn't I give it five stars? The acting. The insensitive character (of course, portrayed as a Republican in his conservative suit and tie) was overdrawn. More important, all three characters did not trust the script--Especially with a great script, their job is to NOT act; it is to BE that character saying the lines and responding to what they're experiencing from the other actors AND from listening to themselves. These actors were too obviously TRYING to act--that's a cardinal sin in acting. They weren't bad; they were, well, community theatre actors. (Sometimes at community theatres, including Altarena, I've seen great acting--Richard Rossman and Sue Trigg in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolff and Chris Chapman in Death of a Salesman, for example.)
The acting not withstanding, I believe that if you'd appreciate 90 minutes of having your assumptions questioned at the same time as you're being modestly entertained, all in a pleasant venue, at a most fair price, go see Art.
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I've wanted to see this play for years, but had never been to the Altarena Playhouse and wasn't sure what to expect. I thought it was a really good production (minamilist, like the art! LOL). I'm glad I was able to see it in such an intimate...continued
This 1998 Tony Award winner is a fiendishly clever comedy that dares to ask the question, “What is art?” Three old friends square off over the merits of a recently purchased painting. Their friendship is put to the test as the arguments quickly go from theoretical, to personal, to confrontational. Art is a heady and hilarious look at the bonds of friendship. It’s been called “A nonstop cross-fire of crackling language…a marriage of Moliere and Woody Allen.” Decide for yourself if it’s “Art.”
Written by Yasmina Reza
Directed by Stewart Lyle
Featuring John Hale, Keith Jefferds, and Matthew Lai