Art, friendship themes of play

Posted: Thursday, July 05, 2001

Three men, best friends for 15 years, find their relationship thrown into tumult when one of them buys a white on white painting for 200,000 francs, in "Art," a play by Yasmina Reza.

The play opens July 13 at the Pier One Theater on the Homer Spit.

Serge, played by Peter Norton, buys the painting and proudly shows it to his friend Marc, played by Arthur Griffith. Marc, appalled that Serge has been taken in by modern art, reviles the painting and believes his friend a fool for buying it.

When Marc calls upon their mutual friend Iva, played by Maynard Smith, looking for an ally, what he gets is the catalyst to an angry and funny hour-long exploration of the meaning of art and the purpose of friendship.

"Art," originally written in French, won the 1995 Moliere Award for best French play. Christopher Hampton, who wrote "Dangerous Liaisons" then translated the play into English for its production in London, where it was chosen as the 1996 Olivier Award winner for best play on the London stage.

In 1998, "Art" opened on Broadway to rave reviews and won the 1998 Tony award for best play.

"These credentials, plus the play's vaudeville style, and the three plum roles for local actors, makes this a terrific play to present in Homer," said Kathleen Balsemo, the director in her second summer with the Pier One Youth Theater.

"It's a marvelous play for actors who are also old friends," she said. "Arthur, Peter and Maynard are having a great time developing a context for their friendship and are taking particular glee in insulting and baiting each other with the kind of facility and ease that only old friends can manage."

"Art" will run Thursdays through Sundays until July 21. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for general admission. Discounts are available for students, families and seniors.

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