Theatre program kickstarts with ‘Art’
NICHOLAS HALE and | NOUR SABRI | CONTRIBUTORS | THE USD VISTA
Presented by the Undergraduate Theatre Program at USD, the play “Art” explores the question: what is art? Further, the performance analyzes how different aesthetic differences can lead to personal rifts.
It has won both the Tony Award for Best Play and the Olivier Award for Best Comedy. Members of the USD community had the opportunity to experience a witty dialogue and challenging themes in the Vassiliadis Family Black Box Theatre in Camino Hall.
Sophomore Linda Miller was in attendance for last Tuesday night’s show.
“I do not really like plays and think they are cheesy,” Miller said. “However, what was really cool about this play was that there were only three characters, so you really had to focus on each one. The theme of the subjectivity of art was very relatable. It conveyed how different everyone is and how we have different tastes and opinions, which is a positive thing because it adds variety to life.”
The show follows the story of best friends Marge, Surge, and Yvan as they struggle to retain a friendship divided by a single piece of artwork. The play begins inside Serge’s apartment, where the proud painting owner is eager to show off his new purchase to his friend Marge.
The painting is a white canvas with a couple of white lines on it. It is revealed that Serge paid $200,000 for this rather blank canvas.
However, Serge sees the beauty in the painting. For him, it was worth the purchase. Serge doesn’t hear what he wants out of his friend Marge, who condemns such an excessive purchase.
Throughout the play, the three friends are unable to understand one another’s value of beauty. In the end, Serge hands Marge a felt tip pen and lets her draw on the canvas. This shatters the beauty of the painting and restores a friendship that took years to build.
Miller noticed the immense passion from each of the actors.
“The acting was so powerful,” Miller said. “The theatre was small but it made the production much more intimate for the audience to connect with the characters on a deeper level.”
The show’s minimalist setting allowed the audience to focus on the performance of the three characters. There was little furniture on the stage with only a couch, chair, and a table with a book placed on top. The furniture followed a rectangular theme and the main color scheme was white. The mostly blank stage reflected the white painting that is presented as the focal point of the show.
The majority of the play is set in Serge’s apartment, where the large white canvas serves as a constant reminder of their quarrel.
For a majority of the play, bright lights highlighted the stage. However, when the director wanted to convey the thoughts of a single character, all lights would dim except for a spotlight that shone on the character, signaling their monologue.
Miller appreciated the full house engaged in the comical atmosphere throughout the entire show.
“Each character defined art differently, which reflects how all of us perceive art differently,” Miller said. “The play did a good job at showcasing this while adding a comical twist.”
The creator of the play, Yasmina Reza, conveyed that although there are different opinions of beauty, one cannot allow these contrasting opinions to influence the opinions of another. Beauty can easily be destroyed, like the canvas, but friendship is infinite.