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Steven Culp in "ART"

October 13 - November 19, 2000

South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, CA

Playwright by Yasmina Reza Yvan - Steven Culp
Directed by Mark Rucker Marc - John de Lancie
Serge - Stephen Markle

SCR: Press Release
Showmag: Review: 'ART'
OCWeekly: 'ART' for the Masses
Back Stage West: Review: 'ART'
Los Angeles Times: The 'ART' of Friendship
The Hollywood Reporter: Theater Review: 'ART'
The Press-Enterprise: 90 minutes of entertaining argument
Playbill: Get on Q: De Lancie 'ART' Ends at South Coast Rep Nov. 19
Playbill: Culp, de Lancie, Markle Make 'ART' at CA's SCR Through Nov. 19
Los Angeles Times: How to Find More Meaning in 'ART': See the SCR Interpretation

Ideas sparkle like champagne in this elegant comedy filled with razor-sharp wit and topped with a finale to equal the most exciting thriller. It all begins with a painting: a canvas, four by five feet, white. Serge paid an outrageous sum for it. Marc thinks he's crazy. Yvan is ambivalent. With modern art as the catalyst, a battle ensues that asks the question, am I who I think I am or who my friends think I am? The answer is as complicated as art itself in this sophisticated international hit that won every prize from Paris' Molière Award to London's Evening Standard Award to New York's Tony. (c)

From Performing Arts Magazine October 2000, South Coast Repertory

In all white painting. One set. Three friends. Ninety minutes. Minimalist on all accounts except for the laughter, which Yasmina Reza's Art supplies in excessive amounts. Reza says of her minimalist approach, "I always work by cutting down. If I didn't have someone to stop me, I'd probably cut everything. I'd be down to 12 pages!"

Lucky for us Reza didn't stop at page 12 but continued on to craft one of the most delightful and compact comedies in recent years. Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times, "It moves like the wind and leaves you exhilarated. It's theatre, pure and elegant."

Serge buys a seemingly all white painting for two hundred thousand francs (roughly $30,000 US dollars). Marc sees the purchase as not only ludicrous but as an insult to him and their longtime friendship. Yvan, trying to serve as a mediator between the two, actually adds fuel to the fire. In a hold-your-breath climax, their friendship is put to the ultimate test.

Performed in more than 20 languages, Art has become something of an international phenomenon. Reza was the first French playwright since Jean Anouilh to have a commercial hit in the West End. One of the reasons for its success is that it's as much about friendship as it is about art. Christiane Lazard de Bord, a French-American artist said that "everyone has his own opinion on art, and there's a limit to honesty when it can hurt someone or destroy a friendship. In Art, the painting is just the trigger."

Art has also been a magnet for brilliant actors. The London company has included Albert Finney, George Wendt, Judd Hirsch, Richard Thomas, Tom Courtenay, Stacey Keach, and Joe Morton. Alan Alda, Alfred Molina and Victor Garber played the three friends in the Broadway staging. At SCR, Steven Culp, John de Lancie and Stephen Markle have joined the roster.

Art is the kind of delightful new play that was once a staple of Broadway theater: sleek as a race horse, bubbly as champagne, with crackling intelligence and surprising depth-sheer pleasure from beginning to end. (c)

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