After all the histrionics and after all the name-calling, and even some tears, the two friends faced each other across the width of the living room.
Fifteen years they had been friends and now it seemed to be ending in bitterness and some confusion. Nobody seemed sure why this was happening. But one of the men, Marc, at least knew what had brought and kept them together.
"I loved the way you saw me," he said to Serge as the third man, Ivan, looked on, dumbfounded by the actions of the other two.
And that phrase, "I loved the way you saw me," is at the heart of "Art," the play by Yasmina Reza that opened the Milwaukee theater season Friday night at the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, 158 N. Broadway.
"Art" is almost 20 years old and has been performed all over the world, and it’s easy to see why. This is the perfect play to open a season, a moderate amount of message and a huge helping of rollicking fun.
And the full house at the Broadway Theater Center laughed from start to finish as this story unfolded. It’s about a piece of modern art that Serge purchased. The painting is all white. Marc can’t stand it and lets Serge know in no uncertain times.
And the friendship begins to unravel from there, the friendship between Marc and Serge and the joint friendship with the hapless Ivan, who is a third wheel, but a heartwarming third wheel.
The friends drift away, but like all good stories, they get back together in the end. And it’s the journey that we love to watch. With three great actors, they had the audience in their collective hands all night long.
C. Michael Wright, who is also the artistic director of MCT, takes his turn on the stage as the buttoned-up Serge. Wright has a million-watt smile that hints at the devilish monster churning inside him.
Brian Mani, who is as good as it gets in Wisconsin, plays Marc, the friend who has his own view of life and isn’t afraid to share it with anyone. Mani has such grace onstage that it’s hard to take your eyes off h…Read more...