Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Workhouse Theatre Art

By • Jan 31st, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Art by Yasmina Reza (translated by Christopher Hampton)
Workhouse Theatre
Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, VA
Through February 26th
90 minutes
$20/$15 Students, Military, Seniors
Reviewed January 29th, 2012

Yasmina Reza’s Art is the inaugural production of the Workhouse Theatre, a part of the Lorton Arts Foundation. Art raises questions about art and friendship through three long-time friends, Serge, Marc and Yvan. Serge buys a large, expensive and completely white painting. Marc is horrified, and their relationship suffers considerably as a result of their differing opinions about what makes up “art.” Yvan’s opinions don’t really matter, as he is pushed and pulled in all directions by his “friends.”

I was unable to attend the official press performance, scheduled for this Friday evening. The performance I attended was still quite rough, with all three actors struggling with their lines and moving slowly into their cued positions for their time in the spotlight as they presented asides directly to the audience. Hopefully the cast and director have spent time this week working their lines and cues.

The large white painting that Serge (Ron Curameng) buys causes much anger and frustration, especially in Marc (David A. Schmidt). Yvan (Carl Bowman) appears almost as an afterthought. Late in the play the three friends are arguing and insulting each other’s taste in art, women and literature. This scene worked well with nice sharp jabs of verbal barbs, although by that point the relationship between the men simply felt strained, like three guys stuck in an elevator together, and not a long-standing friendship built over time that was falling apart.

We were never really able to see a reason for these three friends to be together. They were all older, so possibly they met in college? the military? Ever how they met, there wasn’t a connection between them any longer. Were they getting together simply out of routine? Friends drift apart, and apparently this trio never learned that.

Kristin Jepperson’s costumes were well-planned. Serge and Marc were both well-to-do, with color-coordinated suits, while Yvan’s dark pants and sweater don’t look out-of-place for a guy who drifts from job to job, settling for a position with his fiance’s uncle’s stationery store. The set was coordinated by Joseph Wallen and Caren Hearne, and was shared with the cast of the Studio 3 Theatre for Young Audience’s Miss Electricity.

It also seemed that each character would find a spot on the stage to sit or stand, and remain parked there for most of a scene. When Curameng moved around the stage to hang his new piece of art, the motion was a welcome change. I have to think that many of the flaws in this production come from the director, Joseph Wallen. Weak characterizations and motives of each character, and a lackluster presentation combined to make Workhouse Theatre’s d├ębut production a disappointment.

Photo Gallery

Carl Bowman, Ron Curameng, David A. Schmidt Carl Bowman
Carl Bowman, Ron Curameng, David A. Schmidt
Carl Bowman
Ron Curameng
Ron Curameng

Photos provided by the Workhouse Theatre


  • Marc: David A. Schmidt
  • Serge: Ron Curameng
  • Yvan: Carl Bowman

Technical Staff

  • Director: Joseph Wallen
  • Stage Manager: Calvin Register
  • Technical Crew: Kevin Laughon
  • Costume Designer: Kristen Jepperson
  • Scenic Design: Joseph Wallen & Caren Hearne

Disclaimer: Workhouse Theatre provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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