ART showcases equal parts anger, wit

Nov 6, 2018

MARION — Yasmina Reza’s play “ART”, which opens this weekend at the Marion Art Center, plays with the meaning of art, words, humor, identity, friendship and place, twisting all of these things around on themselves.

The play was directed by Linda Costa, who has acted at the Marion Art Center before but never directed there. It has a cast of three: Scott Fishman and Tony Oliva, who are returning to the MAC and Lee Bonia, who makes his MAC debut in “ART”.

For a play that is about an argument over a white painting that devolves into an all out, no-holds-barred argument about the faults in a trio of friends, “ART” is surprisingly funny. The action takes place in the apartments of three friends, and the set barely changes, other than the changing of paintings in the background which signify different apartments.

Though much of the play is presented as dialogue, which allows the audience to witness how the friends react, overreact and turn on each other, the action also “freezes,” and allows individual characters to monologue their inner thoughts.

ART takes about an hour and 20 minutes, and has no intermission, a strategic choice which the director says allows the actors to maintain momentum through many heated scenes.

The actors and director all had different responses when asked what their favorite part of the play was.

Oliva loves the way that the play examines friendships.

“It rips the bandaid off on all of these unexamined assumptions on friendships that people are surprised to find,” he said.

“And what’s important,” Fishman added on. “We all spend a lot of time buying stuff and getting involved in stuff, and ultimately the only thing that matters is the relationships.”

Fishman also noted that the ending was also particularly fun for him.

Bonia enjoyed the challenge of playing his character, who has several very emotional scenes.

“I like to play characters that are unlike myself. So I was like ‘hmm, this Yvan guy, this is going to be a little bit different.’” he said, “So I get to play a bit and I get to go a bit overboard too. In this [play] it’s kind of like, the more overboard you go the better it’s going to be. Being able to let go is fun.”

Costa brought up to the dialogue as one of her favorite parts of the play.

“My favorite thing about the play is some of the lines  in there that I think you don’t forget, and that are very meaningful. And I think Yvan has some of the very important lines,” she said “His last line ‘nothing good can be born out of a rational argument,’ which is true, and Marc’s lines about how your friends need to be chaperoned. It’s the most hateful thing to say, but at the same time it’s like ‘oh my God, someone actually said it.’”

“ART” will open at the Marion Art Center at Friday, Nov. 9 with subsequent performances on Saturday, Nov. 10, Sunday, Nov. 11, Friday, Nov. 16, and Saturday, Nov. 17. All Friday and Saturday performances will begin at 7:30 p.m., while the Sunday matinee performance on Nov. 11 will begin at 2 p.m.

Tickets will be $18 for MAC members and $20 for non-members. They may be purchased during regular hours in-person Tuesday to Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Marion Art Center, located at 80 Pleasant Street in Marion, MA. Tickets can also be purchased  online at

A limited number of cabaret tables are available for reserved parties of 4, and attendees may bring their own refreshments. Reservations are strongly recommended for this performance.