AN INTRIGUING PIECE OF “ART” ON DISPLAY IN WESTPORT


By Bonnie Goldberg

Long-time friends can occasionally argue and disagree about who to vote for in the presidential race or what team to root for in the Super Bowl or World Series. You wouldn’t think a piece of newly purchased art would cause a trio of good pals to come to fisticuffs. If “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” then what is considered beautiful in art is clearly an individual decision. Whether you respond viscerally to a Flemish landscape, an impressionistic bowl of fruit, or a Madonna and child in the world of the Old Masters is personal. All that withstanding, what happens to the fifteen year friendship of three men when one purchases at exorbitant cost a twenty square foot white on white canvas is the subject of the 1998 Tony Award winning play “Art” by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, on exhibit, in repertory with “RED” by John Logan, at Westport Country Playhouse until Sunday, May 29.

When Serge (John Skelley) proudly displays his monochromatic modern work of art, his friend and mentor Marc (Benton Greene) has the audacity to laugh. To Marc, it is clearly a case of the “Emperor’s New Clothes” and he believes Serge has been deceived into thinking a 200,000 Euros price tag means the art has meaning and merit. It falls to the third member of the triumvirate Yvan (Sean Dugan) to serve as referee as his two best friends put on the verbal boxing gloves over whose artistic judgment is more valid. While Serge and Marc jibe and spar, poor Yvan, about to be married, has his own personal crisis about saying “I do” or not saying “I do.” Is he strong enough to stand up to his more aggressive buddies or will he be crushed by their arguments?

Mark Lamos directs this hour and a half comedy performed without intermission on an antiseptic set created by Allen Moyer. For tickets ($30 and up), call the Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, Westport at (203) 227-4177or 1-888-927-7529. Performances are on even-numbered days, Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., with  Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. “RED” will be performed on odd-numbered days.

Is it pretentious? fashionable? a magnetic mystery? is it even art? Discover for yourself. Will the real art connoisseur please stand up?

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