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‘Art’ examines opinions and friendship

The theatre arts department presented “Art” by Yasmina Reza, a senior project performed by Jacob Tittl, Alon Dina and Jordan Randall. The play is about the relationship between three friends who humorously argue about a white painting. “Art” was directed by David Flaten and ran from March 6 through March 11 in Dailey Theatre. / photo by Austen Beck

The theater arts department presented “Art” by Yasmina Reza, a senior project performed by Jacob Tittl, Alon Dina and Jordan Randall. The play is about the relationship between three friends who humorously argue about a white painting. “Art” was directed by David Flaten and ran from March 6 through March 11 in Dailey Theatre. / photo by Austen Beck

Cody Luk
Assistant Arts Editor

Three best friends sigh hopelessly at a white canvas, each having their own opinion on it. The opinions turn into an argument – an argument that only leads to the conclusion of “You want to go eat?”

No, it is not you hanging out with your friends. It is “Art,” a French play translated to English by Christopher Hampton, and the senior performing thesis of theater majors Jacob Tittl, Alon Dina and Jordan Randall.

It runs from March 6 to 11 in Dailey Theatre.

The play revolves around the meaning of art and friendship between three best friends. The trio are real life best friends and they chose this play for the meaningful message behind it.

“’Art’ is a great piece to end our four-year journey,” Tittl said in his senior statement. “The theme of friendship in this show has aided in realizations of my real life friendships, and what role we start to fill in a circle of friends.”

Serge (Tittl) buys a $100,000 painting that is a canvas painted completely in white. He is proud of the painting and its price and wants to show his friends this good deal. Marc (Randall) expresses his shock and dismay by calling the painting “a piece of sh*t.” Yvan (Dina) does not want to make Serge upset and he pretends to like the painting.

The three friends end up in a heated argument over art and friendship. They disagree on what art really is, with Serge claiming that there are colors to appreciate on the white canvas while Marc cannot see the artwork as anything but white. They also take turns pointing out each other’s personal flaws, eventually leading the painting being defaced with a marker.

Although the marker is actually an erasable marker that Serge and Yvan knew about, this allowed the friends a chance to mend their friendship. The next scene cut to Serge and Marc cleaning the painting and removing the marks.

The two men fixing the painting together was symbolic to fixing their old friendship and reconciling. It depicted that friendship is much more important than their personal differences and opinions.

“I cannot think of a better way to end my run here at La Verne than with a show about friendship and the things that test it,” Randall said in his senior statement. “Being able to perform my senior project with two of my best friends is also an amazing feeling and one that I don’t take for granted.”

Dina first worked on “Art” as his final project in Theater Seminar I in 2011. He suggested using this play to Tittl and Randall. They agreed it would be the best way to end the four-year college career, Tittl said.

“If there is one thing to be learned from getting a degree in the arts, it is that love, service, and wisdom are the three qualities needed to live a good life,” Dina said in his senior statement. “Together with love, in this case, other theater majors, and the courage to create, you can do anything you set your mind to and hopefully transcend the form of a purpose. For theater is the place to present the flaws of society, and their solutions, and hopefully plant a seed in the spectators’ minds.”

The most difficult challenge for Tittl was the writer’s intentions on how the rhythms of the dialogue should be executed. His favorite scene was the one where Randall and Tittl were attacking Dina after failing to resolve their issues.

“We end up attacking the guy who was trying to keep peace the entire time,” Tittl said.

Patti Nonemaker, academic adviser and records analyst, attended the play after hearing about it from Professor of Theater Arts David Flaten, who directed the play.

“I thought it was very interesting the way they dealt with the idea of friendship and what it really means and what’s really important,” Nonemaker said. “In the beginning, the doctor (Serge) is so taken back by his friend’s opinions. His honest opinion. Sometimes honesty in friendship affects the friendship. I think we need to speak the truth in love but it wasn’t like that.”

“My favorite part about the show would have to be the chemistry between the actors,” Amy Bolton, senior theater major, said. “They’re doing a really good job with telling the story and staying engaged with the audience. There is a ridiculously long monologue by Alon. It’s very funny, so in terms of an actor pulling a spectacle, it’s quite fantastic.”

Cody Luk can be reached at cody.luk@laverne.edu.

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