"Art" isn't about art at all. It's about friendship: how we try to domineer our friends and mold them according to our own values. It's a thoughtful play, but "Art" is also a comedy because the relationship decisions that playwright Yasmina Reza's three characters make are all so laughably bad.
Suppose, for example, that your best friend did something that you considered wrong-minded, wasteful, pretentious and embarrassing. Would you tell him?
Would you tell him kindly, and with an eye to preserving your friendship? Or would you tell him unkindly, getting all principled and cold with him?
In director Reed McColm's production of Yasmina Reza's play (through March 27), Interplayers has bounced back with one of the current season's best productions.---
As Marc, who scoffs at the purchase by his friend Serge of an all-white painting, Jack Bannon offers a subtle, disdainful performance. As Serge, Roger Welch lounges on a sofa, drink in hand, tossing off insults
Patrick Treadway's finest moment comes in a mid-play rant — a miniature soap opera of a monologue in which his character, Yvan, whines about preparations for his upcoming wedding.
Will our legacies involve how many people loved us, or how well we upheld our principles? "Art" is the kind of play that inspires post-performance discussion because you and your companions might have differing views about it.
At which point you may be compelled to choose: my friendships or my opinions?
"Art" sticks an all-white painting in our faces through March 27 on Wednesdays-Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, and Saturdays at 2 pm and 8 pm at Interplayers, 174 S. Howard St. Tickets: $15-$21; $12-$19, seniors; $10, student rush. Visit interplayers.com or call 455-PLAY.
A fuller version of this review will appear on Thursday, March 18. Michael Bowen's theater blog also appears here.