Reviewed by Tony Annicone
2nd Story Theatre’s latest show is the 1998 Tony Award winning play, “Art.” It is Yasmina Reza’s serio-comedy and is a sophisticated study of the nature of friendship. One of Marc’s best friends, Serge, has bought a very expensive painting: all white with white diagonal lines. As Marc and Serge argue about its value and the definition of “art,” another friend, Yvan is pulled into the fray. Soon the discussions become less theoretical and
more personal, testing their friendship and the resiliency of their bonds. Rapid fire and electrifying dialogue is delivered excellently by this three member cast. It contains dialogue and monologue asides while speaking directly to the audience. Is this show about art or about friendship? Ed Shea as the director obtains stunning performances from the other two cast members while playing the huge role of Marc. Max Ponticelli designs a terrific set while Ron Cesario designed the contemporary costumes.
This show poses the age old question “What is Art?” The three actors deliver marvelous performances. Ed plays Marc who likes classic art not this modern junk which he calls a piece of shit. He is really a snob who looks down his nose on his friends and their opinions. The sarcastic barbs he hurls at Serge are priceless. Luis Astudillo as Serge who is a dermatologist says he likes modern art but likes to waste a lot of time on frivolous matters bragging about how much he spent on the painting. His behavior caused his wife to divorce him. Serge retaliates at Marc by criticizing Marc’s girlfriend, Paula’s condescending way of smoking a cigarette. Kevin Broccoli plays Yvan who likes to appease both friends without taking a position. He is nervous about his upcoming wedding and delivers a comic monologue about the wedding invitations. Yvan also gets socked in the ear during a misplaced punch by Marc which leads to a final argument. While you might think 3 friends arguing would be a heavy drama, Reza brings out the humorous aspects of the script to not only amuse the audience but make them contemplate on their own friendships and how to deal with argumentative friends. So for a look at a contemporary play with some powerful performances, be sure to catch “Art” at 2nd Story Theatre.
ART (21 April to 21 May)
2nd Story Theatre, Downstage, 28 Market Square, Warren, RI
1(401)247-4200 or www.2ndstorytheatre.com