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KSC Theatre Stages Comedy about Abstract Art

Keene State Theatre actors (clockwise from left) Scott Rodenhauser, Greg Parker, and Aaron Howland.
Keene State Theatre actors (clockwise from left) Scott Rodenhauser, Greg Parker, and Aaron Howland.

KEENE, N.H., 9/17/10 - Keene State Theatre will present Art, an award- winning comedy by French playwright Yazmina Reza, at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday, October 19 to 23, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, October 23, in the Wright Theatre of the Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $8 for senior citizens and youth age 17 or younger, and $6 for KSC students. Call the box office at 603-358-2168.

Art won Reza the 1995 Molière Award for Best Playwright, the 1997 Olivier Award for Best Comedy, and the 1998 Tony Award for Best Play. The play’s title reflects its storyline, which follows the cataclysmic effect on three friends’ relationship when one of them buys an expensive abstract artwork. Art also has a more subtle message “about perception - certainly in art, but mostly about what we perceive in others, and what we want others to perceive in us,” explained Director Ron Spangler, an assistant professor in the Theatre and Dance Department. “The play also speaks to friendship as well - on how we depend on it to nourish others, and how we manipulate it to nourish ourselves.”

This theme of sustenance is keyed to the Theatre and Dance Department’s focus on the question of “what sustains us?” for the next two seasons. Dan Patterson, the department’s chair, challenged the faculty to choose a season that might illustrate how art sustains us. “While Art certainly doesn’t specifically speak of how art nourishes us, it does address how art can be a reflection of who we are and how it can both clear and distort our perceptions,” said Spangler.

He also likes the play because it has an interesting mix of high comedy with sophisticated and witty language and a little bit of low comedy when a very awkward and almost slapstick fight takes place in one scene. He also thought Art would be a good challenge for himself and his students.

He cast three local student actors who play characters who are older, richer, and more established in life than they, and who seem to enjoy word play and verbal sparring. The small all-male cast includes Aaron Howland ‘13 of Marlborough, N.H., and Keene residents Greg Parker ‘11 and Scott Rodenhauser ‘11 as the three friends who wrangle over art. The stage manager is Ashley Simeone ‘12 from Whitefield, N.H. Dave Barney ‘12 of Mamaroneck, N.Y., serves as assistant stage manager.

Other students working on the production are Richard Ouellette ‘11 of Berlin, N.H., set design; Chris Bell ‘11 of Higganum, Conn., lighting design; Benjamin Montmagny ‘12 of Grantham, N.H., sound design; and Alex Trombly ‘11 of Swanzey N.H., assistant technical director.

Keene State faculty members involved in the production are Mary Robarge, costume design; Céline Perron, properties design; and Craig Lindsay, technical direction.

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