BWW Recommends ART: It's Good for Ya!
2nd Story Theatre in Warren is exploring the nature of art and friendship with its well done production of 'ART,' Yasmina Reza's Tony, Moliere and Olivier Award-winning serious comedy. In one hour and ten minutes, 'ART' offers a series of dialogues and monologues, which make us question what we think we know about art and friendship. 2nd story is a terrific little theater with and excellent stable of actors, high production values, and, lately, a highly developed sense of humor. Usually when they do comedies they do not miss, and they have not missed here.
Set in Paris in the early 1990's,'ART' tells the story of three friends who have a falling out over a painting. One of Marc's (Ed Shea) best friends, Serge (Luis Astudillo) has bought a very expensive painting, an Antrios, all white, with white diagonal lines. As Marc and Serge argue about its value and the definition of "art," another friend, Ivan (Kevin Broccoli), is pulled into the fray. Soon, the discussions become less theoretical and more personal, testing their friendship and the resiliency of their bonds. The acting is uniformly good, and each performer gets his share of the laughs. Broccoli was really funny in a long monologue about the seemingly unsolvable issues revolving around his impending nuptials. Shea scored with his overwrought reactions to Serge's purchase, as does Astudillo with his reaction to Marc's criticisms. After a while the talk becomes hostile, personal. Was it ever about the painting at all?
Max Ponticelli's set is simplicity itself, a couple of easy chairs and ottoman on a lovely check floor, set against a brick wall. Lurking above the simple set were four rectangles suspended high above the actors. I guess it was, you know, art. Several times in the evening, one of the actors would be hit with a spot as the rest of the stage would go dark; a nice effect that highlighted a character and his isolation.
Finally, my son Mike accompanied me to this performance and recognized Luis Astudillo as his former Spanish teacher. While Mike does not know much Spanish, he does seem to have turned into a responsible adult; so, thank you, Mr. Astudillo, for doing your part.
'ART' runs downstage at 2nd Story Theatre until May 21. Performances are at 7:30 Thursday, Friday and Saturday and Sunday at 2:30. Running time is one hour and ten minutes without an intermission. If you are interested in talking about the play, a post play discussion is scheduled after the matinee April 30th. Tickets are $35.00, $25.00 for anyone twenty-one or younger, and $20.00 for those who have the foresight to go on preview weekend (too late for this show). 2nd Story Theatre is located at 28 Market St., in Warren. The box office can be reached at 401. 247. 4200 or at boxoffice@2ndStoryTheatre.com. The venue has a nicely stocked bar and is handicap accessible with lovely accessible bathrooms on both floors. Popcorn is available at all performances.
Photo by Richard W. Dionne, Jr.