Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013

Three Men And Art

By Russ Bickerstaff
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The Milwaukee Chamber Theatre plays with the simple complexes of human connection in its opening show of the season--Yasmina Reza's Art. Friendship is tested between three men in a brilliantly-executed play that manifests itself on a beautifully minimalist set by Keith Pitts (a work of art in itself.) The set is white with black boundaries and few other details. Each character is assigned a color. 


C. Michael Wright plays Serge in blue. Serge has just bought a painting. It's almost entirely white. You would be forgiven for thinking it was a blank canvas on first glance. There's a little more to it than that, though. It's very, very expensive. Wright has a remarkable wit about him in the role that feels almost dazzlingly cunning. Reza breathes a cleve comedy into Serge's dialogue that Wright delivers to the stage with a sharp sense of timing.   


Brian Mani plays Marc in red. His tastes run far more classical than Serge's. As a result, he's very, very upset with his purchase of the painting. Mani channels a charming pomposity to the role  that is matched remarkably well to his powerful stage presence. Mani brings a fiery anger to the stage that ranges from dramatic shouting to something far more subtle and subdued.  The dynamic  between Mani and Wright creates a captivating gravity.


Tom Klubertanz plays Yvan in yellow. Yvan is the meekest of the three. He's getting married. He's just acquired a job as a stationery salesman--the next in what is evidently a long line of jobs. Klubertanz brings a submissive nice guy energy to the stage. He is aided in this by a jaw-droppingly comic exasperated monologue the runs for quite sometime. Yvan really needs Serge and Marc to get along. He might just make it happen.  


Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's production of Art runs through August 25th. For ticket reservations, call 414-291-7800. 

Also: this coming Friday (that's tomorrow) and next Friday the 23rd, there's a special promotion with Splash Studio--the painting bar one block down from the Broadway Theatre Center. Starting at 5:00 pm you can have a glass of wine, do a painting and then shoot over to the Broadway Theatre Center for a gourmet sandwich before the show. Total package tickets included is $60 per person. Kind of a cool package event for a very well-executed production. For more information, visit MCT online.


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