Rep Returns to the Playhouse
By Geary Danihy
Art Isn't Easy
Back in 1931, the Westport Country Playhouse’s inaugural season, several plays were presented in repertory, that is, several plays alternated daily. This also occurred in the 1932 and 1935 seasons, but the repertory concept was soon abandoned and wasn’t attempted again until the mid-1960s. That’s about to change this year, for the Playhouse will be opening its 2016 season with two plays in repertory, Red, by John Logan, and Art, by Yasmina Reza, in a translation by Christopher Hampton. Both plays won Tonys for Best Play, Art in 1998 and Red in 2010.
The idea of attempting this has been gestating for several years, and when Mark Lamos, the Playhouse’s artistic director, who is also directing both plays, read the scripts he believed there was a compelling reason to present them in tandem. In its simplest form, Art is about how we evaluate and quantify art as both commodity and possession, while Red focuses on the mystique of creating art.
In the style of Reza’s other well-known play, God of Carnage, Art begins innocently enough with Serge (to be played by John Skelley) buying a painting for an exorbitant amount, a painting created by an artist named Antrios (based on the real-life painter Robert Ryman). He believes his friends, Marc (Benton Greene) and Yvan (Sean Dugan), will approve of his acquisition. When Serge urges Marc to look at the painting “from this angle,” Marc’s response is: “You paid two hundred thousand francs for this shit?” The “shit,” as it were, is a painting that is, well, white, or white-on-white – think lines of milk poured on a field of snow. Yvan’s response is relative: when he is with Marc he agrees the painting is worthless, when he is with Serge he approves. This monochromatic work of art will be the catalyst for a testing of friendship and heated discussions about what we value and why we value it.
Photo: Mark Rothko's "Orange and Yellow"
A Latina Lady of the Lake
By Bessy Reyna
The musical Spamalot, to be produced by the Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) is the reason why actress and singer Mariand Torres is sharing her artistic and musical talents with theater lovers in Connecticut. Spamalot, based on the 1975 film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, won the prestigious Tony Award as best musical comedy with book and lyrics by Eric Idle, music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle. Spamalot has been selected as the final show of CRT’s 2015-2016 season. Also leading the cast is Richard Kline, well-known actor from the TV series Three’s Company. Kline was also in the tour of Wicked in the role of the Wizard, in the touring company in which Torres had the lead role as the Wicked Green Witch Elphaba.
Like all of the Monty Python’s television shows and films, Spamalot is funny, very silly and irreverent. This British group became a sensation when their programs, produced by the BBC, were shown in USA television. Spamalot is the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table as they search for the Holy Grail. On the way they encounter many real and imagined monsters, including a murderous rabbit.
The show is directed by Richard Ruiz, a graduate of the MFA Acting program at the University of Connecticut. Performances will be held in the Harriet S. Jorgenson Theatre, located behind Jorgensen Auditorium, from April 21 -- May 1, 2016. For tickets and information please visit crt.uconn.edu or call (860) 486-2113. Children under 4 years of age will not be admitted.
Articles of Interest:
Three New Musicals in Development Get Goodspeed Readings
Seminars, Celebrities, Previews, Cabarets and More at the Goodspeed Festival
Blogs and Websites of Interest
Blogs about Connecticut theater, movie reviews, and the arts.
Joe's Views -- Joe Meyers' Blog
Artes Magazine -- fine art, architecture, design and theater
Back Stage Buzz - current and archived interviews with CT artists
susangranger.com -- movie reviews
CT Arts Connection
WMNR Fine Arts Radio (Rosalind Friedman's Review)
www.courant.com/curtain (Frank Rizzo reviews)
www.reflectionsinthelight (Lauren Yarger reviews)
www.nytheaterscene.com (Irene Backalenick/David Rosenberg reviews)
Stu On Broadway -- Reviws and comments
Two on the Aisle -- NYC and Connecticut Theater News and Reviews