By Yasmina Reza

Directed by D. Scott Glasser

High art meets high comedy in the Madison Repertory production of the international hit play ART by Yasmina Reza, playing April 13 &endash; May 6 at the Isthmus Playhouse in the Madison Civic Center.

Sharp in its execution and intelligent in its portrayal of companionship, ART is the story of three friends and the painting that threatens to tear their relationship apart. Aspiring collector Serge buys a painting that is more than minimalist &endash; it's all white. His friend Marc is revolted, not only by the painting, but by the fact that a friend of his would spend a high sum on what is to him a worthless white canvas. The pair calls on Yvan to settle the dispute, but Yvan's neutrality on the subject divides the trio even further. Through all their squabbling, Serge, Marc, and Yvan discover that &endash; like the painting &endash; their friendship is not what it seems.

ART made its U.S. debut on Broadway in 1998, and won the Tony Award for Best Play the same year. The play has had more than 125 productions worldwide in 20 languages. Of ART, the New York Times said, "[Art] … moves like the wind and leaves you exhilarated. It's theater, pure and elegant." Newsweek calls ART: "A marriage of Molière and Woody Allen … a nonstop cross-fire of crackling language, serious issues of life and art."

Produced by The Rep

Presented at the Madison Civic Center in the Isthmus Playhouse.

April 13 &endash; May 6, 2001




April 13

8 pm

April 14

5 and 8:30 pm

April 15

See May 6

April 18

7:30 pm

April 19

7:30 pm

April 20

8 pm

April 21

5 and 8:30 pm

April 22

5 pm

April 25*

7:30 pm

April 26

7:30 pm

April 27

8 pm

April 28

5 and 8:30 pm

April 29

1:30 and 5 pm

May 2

7:30 pm

May 3

7:30 pm

May 4

8 pm

May 5

5 and 8:30 pm

May 6

1:30* and 5 pm

*audience discussion

Ticket prices are $27 for Friday and Saturday performances and $22 for Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday performances. TICKETS are on sale at the Madison Civic Center ticket office, or call (608) 266-9055. For information on GROUP RATES, call Madison Rep at 256-0029 x13. An AUDIENCE TALKBACK is scheduled to follow the 7:30 p.m. performance on March 25. This is an informal gathering for the audience to meet with the director and cast members to discuss the play. An audience guide for ART is available beginning April 1 on the web at The audience guide provides in-depth information about the playwright, the play's themes, and historical context.

In conjunction with the production of ART, UW-Madison Professor Noel Carroll will give a talk called "The Art of Friendship" on April 18 at 6:30 pm in the Madison Art Center. He will address the relationship between friendship and taste &endash; the key themes in ART &endash; how our choice of what we like in art, movies, books, etc. is bound up in our self image. Carroll is a professor of philosophy, specializing in aesthetics. This event is co-sponsored by the Rep, the Madison Art Center, and the Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Letters and Sciences.



The Play

Rep Artistic Director D. Scott Glasser will direct ART. Glasser said, "This play is about more than just a painting and whether it's good. In Art, art becomes the criteria by which friendship is evaluated. The stakes become absurdly high, but in the end, this is simply a study of three friends who need validation, who need to know their self-worth. This is a great project for the Rep, and will be even better with the blockbuster cast we've assembled. Audiences can look forward to a witty, clever evening at the theater followed by their own lively discussion about Art."

The Cast and Crew

Glasser has selected three seasoned actors to depict the quarreling trio. Rep favorite JAMES DeVITA returns to play Serge. DeVita wrote the adaptation of The Three Musketeers, which the Rep produced in 1999. He has appeared on stage at the Rep in Speed the Plow and Awake and Sing! DeVita is a company member at American Players Theatre, where his recent roles include Richard III (Richard III), Benedick (Much Ado About Nothing), Algernon (The Importance of Being Earnest), and Romeo (Romeo and Juliet). He is a resident playwright at First Stage Children's Theater in Milwaukee. In April, he will release his first novel Blue, published by Laura Geringer Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing. BRIAN MANI and HARRY WATERS, JR. make their Rep debuts in ART. Mani, who will play Yvan, was seen at American Players Theatre last summer in A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Winter's Tale, and Phédre. His Milwaukee credits include Teddykins: An American Hero, Skylight, Pygmalion, The Winter's Tale, and the recent Filumena at the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Room Service at Next Act Theatre, and Guys and Dolls at the Skylight Opera Theatre. Waters will play Marc. He has been seen on the big screen (Back to the Future), on television (Disney's Adventures in Wonderland, Amen), and on Broadway (Inacent Black). His regional theater credits include Jackie Robinson in The Jackie Robinson Story at HISTORYonics Theatre in St. Louis, Percy Waters in The First Pictures Show at ACT/Mark Taper Forum, Belize in the world premiere of Angels in America at the Eureka Theatre in San Francisco, and Jesus in Godspell at Lambs Players Theatre in South Dakota, for which Waters received the DramaLogue Award.

The design team for ART features FRANK SCHNEEBERGER, scenery; SCOTT RÖTT, costumes (Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde and The Three Musketeers); JOHN FRAUTSCHY, lighting; and JACK SAYRE, sound. MEGHAN GAUGER is production stage manager, and guest stage managers are BILLIE CAREY and ELISA CASTILLO.

The Playwright

YASMINA REZA began work as an actress, appearing in several new plays as well as Molière and Marivaux. In 1987, she wrote Conversations After a Burial, which won the Molière Award for Best Author, SADC New Talent Award, the Johnson Foundation Award, and was subsequently performed across Europe and in South America. Following this, she translated Kafka's Metamorphosis for Roman Polanski and was nominated for a Molière Award for Best Translation. Her second play, Winter Crossing, won the 1990 Molière Award for Best Fringe Production, and her next play, The Unexpected Man, enjoyed successful productions in France, Scandinavia, and Germany. In 1995, Art premiered in Paris and went on to win the Molière Award for Best Author. Since then it has been produced worldwide and translated into 20 languages. The London production received the 1996/97 Oliver Award and Evening Standard Award and continues to play at the Wyndham's Theatre. Screenwriting credits include See You Tomorrow. In 1997, her first novel, Hammerklavier, was published in France to great critical acclaim.