Art
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Kim Taylor

What if your best friend spent a small fortune on a modern painting that has a few white lines painted on a white background? Would you try to humor him and say itís a magnificent work of art, or would you be honest and ask him how he could throw so much money away on a piece of shit? In Yasmina Rezaís Art, now playing at Ross Valley Players, three friends are thrown into chaos over just such a purchase.

When Serge (John Mercer) buys an expensive modern painting that looks very much like a blank white canvas, his friend Marc (Ken Rowland) becomes brutally honest and tells him that the painting is ďa piece of shit.Ē Yvan, another mutual friend, takes a softer more wishy-washy approach and tries to see something more in the painting. But both men see through Yvanís patronizing attitude and the long time friendship of all three men comes into serious question.

While this comedy does make some light commentary on modern art, it is essentially a friendship story. The most powerful part of this drama shows how all-close relationships eventually come to a crisis point, which either breaks the relationship or makes it stronger. Ironically the crisis seems to be over nothing at all but has a way of shaking up the complacency that even the best relationships tend to drift into over time.

Though essentially a comedy, Art provides laughter with a lot of heart and dramatic tension. Though the audience laughs at the absurdity of the arguments between the three friends, there is also life and death urgency to their arguments.

Will the friendship of Serge, Marc and Yvan disintegrate over a questionable work of art or will art help them to transcend complacency and bring them back together in a more meaningful way? Donít miss this Ross Valley Playersí production in the Barn Theatre at Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross. For tickets or more information call (415) 456-9555 or visit www.rossvalleyplayers.org.

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