ST. JACOBS – Three men dispute the worth of modern art and ultimately each other in the philosophical comedy “Art.”
Ranging from debate to debacle, “Art” inspires laughter and reflection as it unfolds.
The catalyst is a large piece of abstract art purchased by one of three long-time friends.
He has paid an exorbitant price and when the piece is revealed the controversy begins. Perhaps the use of quotation marks around the title of the play suggests satire.
Much of the fun is derived as their debate about the painting descends into pettiness.
No longer a cultural deliberation, wives and habits are condemned as f-bombs fly. An enraged physical altercation is well choreographed and gleeful to watch.
The power of friendship is weighed.
The action includes delivery of funny and candid speeches addressed to the audience as the other characters “freeze.”
The art purchaser, Serge, is played by Don Most who delivers an enjoyable, dry wit and initially dignified demeanor.
As a successful dermatologist he becomes interested in acquiring some art and chooses an abstract piece by a well known artist.
Most is recognizable as the loveable Ralph Malph of the long running hit TV series Happy Days. His film, TV and theatre credits since the show are numerous and varied.
Lee MacDougall plays Marc, the initial critic of Serges’ piece. He too is successful as an aeronautical engineer but has a more practical nature than Serge.
His blunt assessment of the artwork is delivered with a matter-of-fact attitude that is funny and relatable. (“You paid two hundred thousand dollars for this s—t?”)
MacDougall is familiar to Drayton Entertainment having played roles in Twelve Angry Men, The Odd Couple and many others.
Yvan, the third friend is played by Ralph Small. He is more saccharine than his friends and lacks the confidence to assess the painting, at first.
He impressively delivers a monologue detailing his wedding planning frustration. It is a revelation of both his character and the nature of their friendship, as his two friends pay rapt attention, as does the audience.
Small will be recognized for his roles in Marathon of Hope, Unnecessary Farce and Bedtime Stories for Drayton Entertainment as well as multiple other theatre, TV and film credits.
Intriguing in its’ simplicity are the set changes to each of their homes. A switch of the artwork over the mantelpiece is all it takes.
Set designer Samantha Burson has created a modern space with clean lines reflecting the personalities of the friends.
Originally a French play written by Yasmina Reza, “Art” has been one of the greatest hits on Broadway and London’s West End since 1994, winning numerous awards including the Tony Award for Best Play.
Director Max Reimer has brought out the best in the talented actors, who received a standing ovation for their unique performances.
“Art” runs Oct. 2 to 20 at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse in Waterloo.
Tickets may be purchased in person at any Drayton Entertainment box office, by calling the box office at 1-855-drayton (372-9866) or online at www.draytonentertainment.com.