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|OURAY Wright Opera House: A Story About Art, Friendship, And the Art of Friendship|
|Written by Administrator|
|Friday, 11 October 2013 18:43|
"Art by Yasmina Reza" is performed Friday, October 11 and Saturday, October 12 at Ouray's Wright Opera House. Doors open at 7:00 p.m.; Show 7:30 p.m. Tickets $15.
By Tom Magstadt
Art. What is it? Why do some people love opera and others prefer a visit to the dentist? When I visit a great art museum (which, I confess, isn't all that often), I usually see some paintings I'd like to have hanging above my fireplace and others I just don't get. For me, that's especially true of the whole spectrum of Abstract Expressionism from Cubism to Minimalism. People disagree about music and movies, too, of course – the rare exceptions for my generation being Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and "The Graduate". (Okay, and "True Grit".)
The only Latin phrase I ever learned that stuck is de gustibus non est disputandum (there's no arguing over taste). And yet that's exactly what the play "Art" by Yasmina Reza is all about: an argument between friends over a painting. The award-winning play, coming soon to the Write Opera House in Ouray, October 11 and 12, not only raises intriguing questions about the relationship between art and friendship, but also challenges audiences to rethink what it means to have (and keep) an open mind in a diverse society on a small planet.
Can friendship and harmony transcend differences? Aren't some differences simply too important to ignore or smooth over? Is it possible for Denver Broncos fans and Dallas Cowboys fans to be friends? How about Republicans and Democrats? Christians and Muslims?
Despite the serious questions it raises, "Art" has a comical side. If it doesn't make you smile you probably don't get it – like my deer-in-the-headlights reaction to Suprematist art, for example. So when Serge buys a very expensive, very abstract Minimalist painting (white with some faint threads of "color") by a famous artist, Marc takes one look at it and thinks it's a joke. Or at least he tries to make a joke about it. Serge isn't amused.
What follows is a donnybrook most of us will recognize from personal experience. It starts over a painting and takes on a life of its own. Fights within families or between friends are often more intense, intractable, and injurious than the average barroom brawl between beer-swilling strangers. Sometimes it's about money; sometimes it's about unrequited love; or maybe it's about the World Series at this time of the year. But a painting!
Why not? Marc thinks Serge is nuts to spend a lot of money on a painting that's basically a blank canvas. At least that's how HE sees it. And that's the key. Serge sees something in the painting Marc doesn't see. Perhaps that's what accounts for Marc's "unease". Perhaps that's why he's "unsettled" by it. Serge, on the other hand, doesn't understand why Marc can't see what he sees in the painting. Is Marc being willfully obtuse? Mean-spirited? Or simply honest?
Probe beneath the surface and the play becomes a foray into a Freudian boreal forest where the line between perception and reality is blurred and what's right or wrong depends on geography (where you're coming from) rather than theology (where you hope you're going). But that's as much as I'm going to say about the story. If you want to know more, go see the play.
The actors, John Rensenhouse, Greg Butell, and Trevor French are well-known among the theater-going crowd in Kansas City (my other home base). Together they have a long list of stage credits, performing both on the local stage and in regional theaters around the country. Mr. Rensenhouse has toured nationally with two Broadway productions ("Noises Off" 1984-1985 and "The Lion King" 2002-2006) before deciding to move back home in 1997. Trevor French is a banker by day. A strong supporter of the local arts community, Trevor works for UMB Bank in Kansas City and does between 2-5 shows a year. Greg Butell is a CPA and sells real estate by day.
It's worth mentioning that the actors and the director, Darren Sextro, are friends who live and work in the same community. That fact gives special meaning to a play that's all about art and friendship . And there's also a family connection to Ouray. Many readers of this newspaper know Nancy Nixon. Nancy is a longtime resident of Ouray, of course, and a producer at the Wright Opera House. John Rensenhouse is Nancy's brother.
It will be great to see friends and neighbors in attendance. It's a wonderful play and an opportunity to support the arts. Tickets are $15.00 and can be purchased at the new box office taking shape in the main lobby or online at www.thewrightoperahouse.org. Also, the Wright Opera House, celebrating its 125 anniversary this year, has launched the second phase of a capital campaign to renovate the facility. Keep that in mind when you're thinking about tax deductible donations…
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