Bowie Community Theatre ArtBy Heather Martin • Mar 27th, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Bowie Community Theatre
Bowie Playhouse, Bowie, MD
Through March 31st
$17/$12 Seniors and Students
Reviewed March 24th, 2012
Bowie Community Theatre’s production of Yasmina Reza’s Art, currently playing at the Bowie Playhouse, is an engaging and well-crafted piece of well, “art.” The show centers around three male adult friends whose relationship balance is upset when Serge (Louis B. Murray) spends an outrageous sum of money on a painting that is completely white.
Director Joe Del Balzo brings this humorous, if thoughtful, tale of art appreciation and friendship to the stage with a steady hand. In a show that could easily become nothing but talking heads, Del Balzo and his team of talented actors keeps the pace lively and moving. This show runs 90 minutes without an intermission, and by the end emotions are running high enough that just watching can feel exhausting. While possessing many humorous qualities, Art is not strictly speaking a comedy, and can get a bit bogged down in its own drama despite the heroic efforts of its creative team.
All three actors are excellent, but it is Louis B. Murray’s “Serge” that really seemed to bring the show to life, causing scenes without him to drag in comparison. Murray has a commanding and charismatic stage presence and excellent chemistry with both “Marc” (Terry Averill) and “Yvan” (Morey Norkin).
Tasked with the complicated role of “Marc,” Terry Averill succeeded in making his character’s motivations and frustrations feel real and heartfelt, despite his palpable hipster veneer. Particularly poignant was a quiet moment in one of the show’s many asides where he recounted an incident that caused him to doubt his friendship with Serge. Averill spends a large portion of the performance shouting, but his moments of quiet were completely breath-taking.
As “Yvan,” Morey Norkin brings enormous charm to what could be a simple comic relief role. Norkin manages a comedic tour de force in a riotous monologue that had the audience in stitches and lead to a spontaneous round of applause. Occasionally however, his over-large hand gestures became distracting, taking the audience out of the moment.
The set was simple but effective. Set designers Joe Del Balzo and Debbie Samek uses the space to its full advantage, successfully creating three separate, if very similar, homes by changing the paintings on the wall, lending a bit of humor to one character stating how their homes are “so different.” However, the emptiness of the gray walls, while a blank canvas for the show, look very distinctly like stage flats rather than walls. Jane Lecher’s costumes admirably outlined each character. While not being particularly complicated, every costume told the audience something about the person, giving them their own unique style.
Whether or not Art is a masterpiece or just a white painting is ultimately in the eye of the beholder. This production is a well-done take on a complicated subject, with plenty of color to spare.
Friendship. Oh, the troubles. How do we define our friendships and how do we let them define us? Can we know what makes us “friend” with someone? What are the bonds that hold our friendship together? Can we over think them, study them to death? Tonight we find ourselves in the company of three men who have friendships turn upside down because one of them did something unimaginable. And as they examine their friendships, dissecting them, breaking them down, searching to discover their basic elements, we find that such a study–of what it means to be a friend–is not a science but an Art.
I am very proud to be a part in bringing this play to you. At times, funny and serious, dark and light, depressing and uplifting, this is one of my favorite plays. I hope it will be yours, too.
Joe Del Balzo, Director
- Marc: Terry Averill
- Serge: Louis B. Murray
- Yvan: Morey Norkin
- Producer: John Nunemaker
- Director: Joe Del Balzo
- Assistant Director: Debbie Samek
- Stage Manager: Jennifer Harvey
- Lightning Designer: Garrett Hyde
- Sound Designer: John Nunemaker
- Set Designer: Joe Del Balzo, Debbie Samek
- Set Construction Crew: Joe Del Balzo, Greg Anderson, Debbie Samek, John Nunemaker, Maureen Kennedy, Keith Brown, Michael Fawcett, Terry Averill, Morey Norkin, Garrett Hyde, Louis B. Murray, Cindy Bentley, Fred Bentley
- Set Painting: Michael Fawcett, Maureen Kennedy
- Set Dressing: Joe Del Balzo, Terry Averill, Debbie Samek, John Nunemaker
- Properties: Joe Del Balzo, Joanne Bauer
- Costumes: Jane Lecher
- Master Technician: Garrett Hyde
- Theater Technicians: Al Chopey, Walter Kleinfelder, Pete Dursin
- Mailing Administrator: Galen Menne
- Photographer: Fred Bentley
- Videographer: Mike Dunlop/Dove Video
- Graphic/Program Designer: Debbie Samek
- Advertising/Publicity: Estelle Miller
- Webmaster: Jennifer Hill
- House Manager: Joanne Bauer
- Lobby Design: John Nunemaker, Debbie Samek
Disclaimer: Bowie Community Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. BCT also purchased advertising on the ShowBizRadio.net web site, which did not influence this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/7813.
Heather Martin has been involved in local theater for over 18 years. She lives in Greenbelt with her fiancee, cat, and a particularly rambunctious puppy.