Art By Yasmina Reza
Directed by Mark Edward Smith
Mad Cow Theatre, Orlando FL</strong>
Apophina is a harsh mistress. She has latched onto art connoisseur and successfully divorced dermatologist Serge (Thom Mesrobian). Practically that means he shelled out 200,000 French franc’s for a pure white painting by a famous guy none of us have ever heard of. Never mind what 200,000 FF is in Euros or Zlotys, it’s chunk of change and his buddy Marc the Engineer (Jay T. Becker) is not impressed. Rather than just rag him for being a fool, he deconstructs Serge’s love of deconstruction and jumps their mutual friend Yvan (Tommy Keesling), forcing him to take a side. Yvan has his own problems as he desperately tries to marry the worst woman in the world. She may be a Gorgon but its better than dying alone. But Yves loves Serge’s investment, or says he does, and you wouldn’t tell a mother to her face she has an ugly baby, would you? Marc would. While everyone ends the evening on speaking terms, something has shifted in their friendship.
Long ago we decide art is whatever you are willing to pay for, and now technical skill is subservient to marketing. And while these guys argue about things most guys could care less about, we do explore what roughage cleanses the bonds of friendship. Keesling has the best scene; late in the show he has a wonderful break down. Serge maintains his inner definition of taste as he slow burns though his friends skeptics; Becker’s aerospace engineer seems capable of being stylish, technically correct, and Parisian arrogant simultaneously.
The set is minimal with a giant custom carpet filling the stage, clever mechanism make props move magically, and the customs in muted yet primary colors underscore the unity and divides of this friendship. Other productions of this show I’ve crossed seem to focus on the “Meaning of Art”; here that seems assumed and we focus instead on the testing of male relations, as imagined by an outsider. And yes, there are such things hanging in major museums; I’ve even see one myself in the wild. And yes, it was in Paris. So there.
For more information on Mad Cow, please visit http://www.madcowtheatre.com