by Yasmina Reza

Translated by Christopher Hampton

Directed by Stephan Golux

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                                                             From the Lock Haven Express, Friday, July 11, 2003

Zany sitcom fans, unite

Student Reviewer

If you're a big fan of the television shows "Seinfeld" or "Friends", the Millbrook Playhouse's current cabaret performance is a must-see for you. The plots of these sitcoms derive humor from everyday objects and situations. And that is exactly the story in the comedy "Art."

The whole story of the play revolves around a single object: a painting. And this painting is the simplest of paintings. It is white with white diagonal lines. The plot thickens as a lifelong friendship between three men is threatened by the purchase of this piece of art.

"Art" is nothing short of hilarious. The cast members kept the audience laughing from start to finish, which is an incredible feat, considering there are only three characters, and that the story is based on an all-white painting.

Much of the story is composed of the three friends arguing. In fact the characters argue in such a way that the audience just can't help but laugh. And all three actors fill their roles excellently.

Marc (Craig Bentley) first threatens the friendship by openly rejecting his friend's new piece of art work. His classic way of thinking prevents him from seeing the beauty in the white painting. Serge (Corey Patrick), Marc's best friend and also polar opposite, as we come to find out, attacks Marc's views and causes the lengthy argument that lasts throughout the play. Yvan (Matthew Lawler) quickly finds himself thrown in the middle of the senseless dispute.

All three actors performed equally well, which was nearly perfect, on preview night. From their humorous antics down to their facial expressions, they kept the audience well entertained for the entire length of the play. It is no easy task to make arguments seem funny, but the trio succeeded in doing just that.

The fact that there were only three actors (meaning more lines to memorize) didn't slow these guys down at all. They sailed through the script without so much as a minor slip-up. Not bad, considering they all shared equal stage time, which was well over an hour.

Bentley's lines seemed to outnumber the others' and were more in-depth. He delivered his lines without hesitation, and stirred up quite a few chuckles and belly-laughs from the audience.

Patrick seems like a natural comedian with cheery personality, short mustache and long sideburns. His best performances came during his monologues on stage, when all eyes were on him.

The biggest crowd-pleasing moment was when Yvan entered the stage and went through a several minute rampage about his fiancée and his stepmother. He reminded me of the Energizer bunny... he just kept going and going and going. The audience was impressed after he spoke his lines for a minute straight, so you can imagine the surprise when he was still speaking two minutes later. It's a difficult role to play, and Lawler pulled off the performance flawlessly.

This story was so funny that I did not even notice until after the play was over that there was no break for intermission. The actors did a great job in keeping their audiences' attention throughout the play.

There were absolutely no costume changes in this play, and the clothes the actors wear are mismatched. (But hey, we're talking about three very funny guys here!)

The play is recommended for anyone except for small children, as there is some strong language.

So does Serge get rid of the painting that his best friend despises so much to salvage the relationship, or does he keep his beloved "Art" and close the door on a 15-year friendship? You'll have to see it to find out. Just be prepared to laugh, and to have a heck of a good time.