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Photo Flash: International City Theatre Presents ART By Yasmina Reza

Begins streaming on Thursday, February 18.

International City Theatre opens its 36th season with a virtual presentation of Art, a heady, hilarious look at the bonds of friendship viewed through the prism of modern art.

Yasmina Reza's multiple award-winning play, translated from the French by playwright/screenwriter Christopher Hampton, begins streaming on Thursday, Feb. 18 and will remain available on demand every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through March 7 (dark Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays). Tickets are $30 per household and are available for purchase now at www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

How much would you pay for a painting that was a white canvas? Would it be "art"? What would your friends think of it - and of you, for buying it?

When Serge (Brent Schindele, previously seen at ICT in End of the Rainbow, Songs for a New World) purchases an all-white painting for €200,000, his longtime friendship with Marc (Michael Uribes - ICT's Around the World in 80 Days, Robber Bridegroom, Threepenny Opera) and Yvan (Brian Stanton - Around the World in 80 Days, Is He Dead?, Bright Ideas) is put to the test. As the arguments quickly go from theoretical to personal to confrontational and friendship hangs in the balance, the question becomes: how much is a painting worth?

"It's a masterpiece, I think," said Hampton in an interview. "[Yasmina's] plays are deceptively simple... But actually, when you've sat through them, you feel they've given you an insight into all kinds of things, like friendship, and marriage, and children. She is extremely wise, but she is also quite tough, so that she's not going to let those characters off the hook. She is very interested in people behaving badly, which is always a source of great entertainment to an audience... I love to hear the sound of audiences laughing."

In addition to winning two Molière Awards (France's most prestigious drama prize) and Broadway's Tony Award® for best new play, Art also enjoyed a six-year run in London, where it received a Laurence Olivier award for comedy. Reza was surprised by the category for this award, noting, "I thought I had written a tragedy."

It's precisely this seeming paradox that highlights the plays universal appeal. Theater scholars and critics, nearly unanimous in their praise, continue to analyze and debate what Art is really about - the meaning or value of art, a rejection of modernism, the nature of friendship, the politics of aesthetics, or the creative process itself. And while there are certainly laughs galore, underneath the characters' wit and self deprecation are basic human yearnings for meaning and connection.

Yasmina Reza is a French playwright, novelist and actress best known for her satiric plays that speak to contemporary middle-class anxieties. International City Theatre previously produced her savagely caustic "comedy of bad manners" God of Carnage to critical acclaim, with the Orange County Register effusing, "'God of Carnage' shows manners, and reason, as road-kill ... director caryn desai's staging stings because it hits so close to home about human nature."

The creative team behind ICT's streaming version of Art includes costume designer Kim DeShazo, projections and sound designer Dave Mickey, wig designer Anthony Gagliardi, prop master Patty Briles; video editor Mike Bradecich; casting director Michael Donovan; and stage manager Donna Parsons.

For more information or to purchase tickets, go to InternationalCityTheatre.org.


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