Double-casting True West seemed to do well for the Broadway revival of the Sam Shepard play; audiences never knew which of the two brothers Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly would be until arriving at the theatre. The Alley Theatre in Houston, to add a little spice to their production of Yasmina Reza's Art, has six actors rotating among the comedy's three roles. Resident company members James Black and new addition K. Todd Freeman (Tony-nominated for The Song of Jacob Zulu) play Marc; Paul Hope and David Rainey are Serge and John Tyson and Todd Waite are Yvan in the production, opening Oct. 10. Black, a fifteen year veteran of the Alley Theatre, recently played on Broadway in Not About Nightingales.
Translated from Yasmina Reza's French by Christopher Hampton (Les Liaisons Dangereuses), the Tony Award-winning Art traces the destruction and rebuilding of three men's friendship as an expensive piece of art — which looks just like a plain white canvas — comes between them. Serge, who purchases the work, can't understand why his pal Marc is so upset about his new painting, while the wishy-washy Yvan is caught in the fray, torn between his two best friends. Reza is also the author of The Unexpected Man and Life X Three.
Art plays through Nov. 3 on the Large Stage. Tickets are $50-$35. The Alley Theatre is located at 615 Texas Avenue. For reservations, call (713) 228-8421 or (800) 259-ALLE. The Alley Theatre is on the web at http://www.alleytheatre.com.
— By Christine Ehren