Theater: Trying to answer the age-old question 

AASU Masquers present three-person comedy Art

It’s a question that elicits many different answers every time it’s asked: What is art?

Art, a comedy that will be presented by the Armstrong Atlantic State University Masquers, tackles this often controversial subject head-on. The play’s author, Yasmina Reza, is a French playwright, actress, novelist and screenwriter.

Art premiered in Paris in 1995. Reza was presented the Molière Award for Best Author, an award similar to a Tony. Since then, Art has been produced world-wide and translated and performed in more than 30 languages.

Brandon Morris, a senior in AASU’s theater department, is directing Art, which opens April 24. This is his first major directorial show at AASU.

Currently, Morris is in the process of auditioning for the Alliance Theater in Atlanta and the Berkeley Repertory Theater in Berkeley, Calif. He has worked at theaters in New York and Ohio.

“I was a kid who grew up playing sports,” Morris says. “I come from a sports family, with a father who played football in college.

“I went to a performing arts high school in Atlanta,” he says. “I injured my leg and couldn’t play sports any more.

“I got into arts through my school,” Morris says. “One thing led to another, I kept doing more and more, then fell in love with it and went to college for it.”

Connect Savannah recently caught up with Morris to find out a little more about Art.

What is Art?

Brandon Morris: It’s a play about three middle-aged men. All three are best friends. One buys a painting that is really expensive -- $50,000. The painting is white with white stripes. One of the friends can’t grasp why he’d spend that much money on such a painting. It ends up causing them to question their friendship. Is this 15-year friendship going to break up and make them go their separate ways?

Tell me about the cast.

Brandon Morris: There are three in the cast. Serge is played by Jeremy Reigel, Yvan by John Martin and Marc by Ben Wolfe. They’re incredibly easy to direct. It’s a good bunch of guys. We’ve all worked with each other on separate projects but never got to work together on one. It’s a very smooth rehearsal process. We can work together and get things done quicker. We get to focus on small details.

Were there any problems in staging the show?

Brandon Morris: The writing. Because it was originally written in French and had been translated, some of the references are French or they refer to places in Europe. To make it better understood by audiences here, we’re placing reference points and naming painters in the United States.

Why should people come out to see this play?

Brandon Morris: Art is a really great play. If I were to compare it to anything, I’d compare it to the TV show Frazier. It’s a very witty, comical play. It’s wordy. It’s just a lot of fun. The characters are really unusual and it’s a really good night of comedy.

What: Art by Yasmina Reza.When: April 24, 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. and April 27 at 3 p.m. Where: Masquers Chinese Theater at Armstrong Center, 13040 Abercorn St. Cost: $10. Info: 927-5381 or www.finearts.armstrong.edu .

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Linda Sickler

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