Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Last night Cardine, Shiree, and I attended the USF production of ‘Art’. I enjoyed myself thoroughly because…

A) I love live theatre. There’s a vitality that comes with watching the actors perform right in front of you that you can’t get while watching movies or TV.

B) It was an exceptional play.

C) I was in the company of two really good friends.

Honestly, the two friends with whom I attended the play heightened the enjoyment of the show. Here’s why:

The three of us really like to discuss various topics about which we have differing opinions and thoughts. Often, we get quite passionate about our views. Even more often, our discussions result because of slight, sometimes quite nuanced, differences in viewpoints. We almost believe the same thing, but we spend a lot of time discussing the minute reason(s) our opinions differ. However, we always maintain a high level of respect for our fellow discussers; no name calling, no personal attacks, etc. In short, we’re friends during and after our discussions. It’s a lot of fun, and I cherish these discussions.

‘Art’ begins with Serge buying a painting that has a white background with a few white vertical stripes and a white horizontal line at the bottom. It cost him 200,000 francs. His friend Marc flips out and calls the painting garbage (or something like that). The third friend, Yvan, when talking to Mark agrees that it’s a ridiculous purchase, but when talking to Serge later, tells Serge that he is moved by the painting. The three proceed to argue a lot. My two friends and I shared mirth-filled glances when the three men on stage would argue semantics, just like us. However, they didn’t always show respect for the other’s opinion, and some mean things were said, unlike us.

Four highlights of the play:

1) When Yvan arrives 45 minutes late for their evening out, making them late for the movie, and goes into a lengthy and passionate diatribe about his fiancée, mother, and stepmother. When he finished, the audience erupted with amazed and appreciative applause.

2) The olive scene. For several minutes, after arguing heatedly for quite awhile, the three men sit down and eat olives without saying a single word. It was so funny. (Yes, you had to be there.)

3) Yvan quotes his psychiatrist:

If I am who I am, and you are who you are,
Then I am who I am, and you are who you are.
However, if I am who I am because you are who you are,
Then I am not who I am and you are not who you are.

4) Spoiler Alert! Don’t read if you plan to see this play! When Serge hands Marc a blue felt-tipped pen and Marc proceeds to draw on the white painting (worth 200,000 francs!). It was a turning point in their relationship, for the better, if you can believe it.

I had expected a serious play that delved into the argument “what is art”. This topic certainly came up a little throughout the play, but mostly it was a statement about the men’s relationship; how it used to be, what it is now, and how it’s developing. I was surprised that it was so funny – I laughed so much! The play and especially the character of Yvan made me consider my relationships with other people. I tend to try to placate others and not say what I’m really thinking or feeling. I try to be tactful but am sometimes dishonest in my tact. I’m not saying I’m Yvan exactly, but it gave me something to think about and evaluate about myself.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the show; it was thought-provoking, intelligent, funny, and Serge was quite attractive. Oh, and Cardine sat next to one of the USF actors from a few of this summer’s productions – he’s the understudy for Yvan, so he wanted to see the play. We intentionally sat there because of him. Bonus. And a little pathetic, yes. My only issue with the play was the excessive use of a certain curse word (not the curse word of all curse words, thankfully). Actually, it’s the word I tend to use on those ever-decreasing times that I curse.

So, if you have a chance to see it, don’t mind a bit of cussing, and want an intelligent, funny play – GO SEE ‘ART’!

(photo courtesy of USF's photo album for 'Art'.)


tearese said...

Sounds like a play I would like....if I ever see it, I hope its with you guys!

Cassie said...

Oh I'm jealous that you guys got to see a good play. That sounds awesome. You know if you move to Salt Lake we could get season passes to the Hale which is pretty cheap and always have a great show to go to (;

Cardine said...

The understudy told me that it was the fifth time that he had seen it. How many times have they shown the play? I'm thinking around seven times.

Also, after I dropped you at your car, the said actor was walking by, and I thought about offering him a ride for about .2 seconds.

Cardine said...

ps... this makes me want to be better about doing my theatre reviews. I am so behind. I have lots to say about this play.

Ben said...

Debates about minutia are the only debates worth having.