JC’S THEATRE SPOTLIGHT – Art

TITLE:  Art

VENUE:  Neptune Theatre, Scotiabank Stage

DATES:  May 9 – June 4, 2017

SYNOPSIS:  Three Parisian buddies have the depth of their friendship tested when one spends 100,000 Euros on a painting that’s about as plain white as the Beatles’ White Album.  To be fair, there are allegedly three diagonal lines in the painting, but they can only be seen in the right light.  The ensuing exchanges over the purchase range from hilarious and cutting, to a serious discussion of the mechanics of friendship, and debate on the relative value of contemporary art.

HIGHLIGHT:  The rapid deterioration of these three solid friendships comes to a boiling point as Serge, who owns the painting, offers Marc a black marker and invites him to deface the painting.  “What happens next will blow your mind …”

QUOTE:  “I’m not asking you to apply a whole set of critical standards, I’m not asking you for a professional estimate, I’m asking what you, Yvan, would pay for a white painting gussied up with a few off-white stripes.”  “Jack shit.”

“If I’m who I am because I’m who I am, and you’re who you are because you’re who you are, then I’m who I am and you’re who you are.  If however I’m who I am because you’re who you are and you’re who you are because I’m who I am, then I’m not who I am and you’re not who you are.”

SHINING STARS:  A solid ensemble cast, but Jeff Schwager’s portrayal of the overly emotional Yvan, offers an hilarious – and extremely physical - monologue on parental interference in his upcoming nuptials.    

WHY YOU SHOULD SEE THIS:  An occasional peak inside the world of the upper middle class (lower upper class?), just for an evening to imagine spending a ton of money on an arguably worthless painting (“But … is it art?”), makes for a worthwhile 80 minutes of escapism.  But when you add the brilliant dialogue of Yasmina Reza (best known for Gods Of Carnage, which I was lucky enough to see on Broadway starring James Gandolfini), and three stellar acting performances, it’s a surprising and enlightening night.  It was also fun to watch these three intellectual males go at each other with words written by a gifted female playwright, another angle to enjoy here.

Photo by Lisa Marie MacPhee