Art

About the Director

Harriet Power

Harriet Power teaches dramaturgy, acting, and solo performance at Villanova, and works professionally as a director and dramaturg. This past year, on sabbatical in Rome, Italy, she received a grant from the American Embassy to direct Dinner with Friends for The English Theatre of Rome (the city’s largest professional English-language theatre). Recent U.S. directing credits include By the Bog of Cats... and Uncle Vanya at Villanova; Missing Link at InterAct Theatre Company (2002 Barrymore nominee, Best New Play); and Measure for Measure at Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival (2001 Barrymore nominee, Outstanding Direction). From 1995-98, as Artistic Director of Venture Theatre, she directed A Moon for the Misbegotten (1998 Barrymore nominee, Outstanding Direction), Fires in the Mirror (with Ozzie Jones), and Mad Forest (co-produced with Temple Theaters, Philadelphia Inquirer “Best Director”, 1994). Power has worked extensively with new plays and playwrights at Bay Area Playwrights Festival, West Coast Playwrights, Iowa Playwrights Festival, and in Philadelphia. She directed the world premiere of Dorothy Louise’s LoveKnot at the International Women Playwrights Festival, Galway, Ireland. Among the 11 productions she has staged at Villanova, Angels in America Part II: Perestroika, directed with James J. Christy, won 1997 Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play, Outstanding Ensemble, and Outstanding Supporting Actress.

Press Release

VILLANOVA THEATRE PRESENTS the HIT COMEDY ART

Villanova Theatre opens the 2004-2005 season with Art, the hit comedy about three friends and the remarkable painting that comes between them. Art is written by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, and directed by Villanova University theatre professor Harriet Power.

Art is on stage October 5–17, 2004, at Vasey Hall on the Villanova University campus. Showtimes are 8:00pm Tuesday-Saturday and 2:00pm Sunday. Tickets are $18–$22 and may be ordered by calling the Villanova Theatre Box Office at (610) 519-7474. Additional information is available at www.villanova.edu/artsci/theatre/.

In Art, a wealthy young doctor, Serge, astounds his two best friends, Marc and Ivan, when he purchases an unusual – and unusually priced – contemporary painting. When Marc confronts Serge and ridicules him for wasting his money, the three friends begin to question the nature of their relationship. As the play progresses and their wrangling escalates, it soon becomes clear that Art is less about “art” and more about the complexities of truth and loyalty in friendship. “Art focuses on what we expect from our friends and how we behave when someone makes a decision that not only shocks us but makes us feel betrayed,” said Power. “Whether we’re of the younger or older generation – and regardless of gender – the play is packed with insights about all those unmentionables we’re not supposed to talk about in a relationship....who’s more powerful, who’s richer, cooler, smarter, sexier, who’s the leader and the follower, how we compete with and manipulate each other.”

Since its premiere a decade ago, Art has become an international theatrical sensation. It has been translated into 35 languages and produced all over the world. The play opened in Paris in 1994, where it won Molière Awards for best author, best play, and best production. It went on to receive the 1997 Olivier Award for best play and the 1998 Tony Award and New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best play.“The thrill of Art is getting to see what is normally hidden,” said Power. “I think the play has been so successful because it gives the audience the opportunity to be voyeurs – to observe the hidden world of men and how they interact with each other. “This play has touched a nerve far more universal than even Yasmina Reza probably imagined,” she continued. “Trios of male actors all over the world have savored the opportunity to dive into these very nuanced and quirky and not always admirable characters. Part of the appeal of the play is also that most of us relate to aspects of all three men – we don’t side with any one person.”

Villanova Theatre’s production of Art features the acting talents of three graduate theatre students. Acting scholar Nick Falco portrays Marc, an aeronautical engineer who is bewildered and angered by his best friend’s new purchase. Falco’s Villanova credits include Parade, Don Juan, City of Angels, Chicago, and Children of Eden. Serge is played by Josh Sauerman, a second-year graduate student who previously appeared in Don Juan, Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), and as Leo Frank in Parade. Bob Bonocore, also an acting scholar, portrays Ivan, the flustered friend perennially caught in the middle. Bonocore’s stage credits at Villanova include Roger Doremus in Summer and Smoke and M. Dimanche in Don Juan.

Playwright Yasmina Reza was born in 1959 in Paris, France. After studying at Paris X University and the Jacques Lecoq Drama School, she began her career as an actress. Her first play, Conversations After a Burial (1987), gave her immediate success as a playwright. Reza’s plays have been international critical and popular successes, translated and produced worldwide. In addition to Art, she is the author of The Passage of Winter (1989), The Unexpected Man (1995), Life x 3 (2000), and Une Piece Espagnole (2004). Her novels include Hammerklavier, Desolation, and Adam Haberberg.

Translator Christopher Hampton is an award-winning writer, translator, and lyricist. His credits include translations of Reza’s Conversations After a Burial, Art, The Unexpected Man, and Life x 3. His plays The Philanthropist and Les Liaisons Dangereuses received Tony Award nominations for Best Play. His screenplay for the film Dangerous Liaisons, adapted from his play, won a 1988 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Hampton won a 1995 Tony Award for Best Book for the musical Sunset Boulevard. His most recent endeavor is writing book and lyrics (with Don Black) for Dracula, The Musical, which opened on Broadway in August.

Director Harriet Power teaches dramaturgy, acting, and solo performance at Villanova, and works professionally as a director and dramaturg. This past year, on sabbatical in Rome, Italy, she received a grant from the American Embassy to direct Dinner with Friends for The English Theatre of Rome (the city’s largest professional English-language theatre). Recent U.S. directing credits include By the Bog of Cats... and Uncle Vanya at Villanova; Missing Link at InterAct Theatre Company (2002 Barrymore nominee, Best New Play); and Measure for Measure at Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival (2001 Barrymore nominee, Outstanding Direction). From 1995-98, as Artistic Director of Venture Theatre, she directed A Moon for the Misbegotten (1998 Barrymore nominee, Outstanding Direction), Fires in the Mirror (with Ozzie Jones), and Mad Forest (co-produced with Temple Theaters, Philadelphia Inquirer “Best Director”, 1994). Power has worked extensively with new plays and playwrights at Bay Area Playwrights Festival, West Coast Playwrights, Iowa Playwrights Festival, and in Philadelphia. She directed the world premiere of Dorothy Louise’s LoveKnot at the International Women Playwrights Festival, Galway, Ireland. Among the 11 productions she has staged at Villanova, Angels in America Part II: Perestroika, directed with James J. Christy, won 1997 Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play, Outstanding Ensemble, and Outstanding Supporting Actress.

The production team assembled for Art includes Scenic Designer David P. Gordon, Costume Designer Charlotte Cloe Fox Wind, Lighting Designer Jerold R. Forsyth, Properties Designer cdavid hall-cottrill, Sound Designer Bill Moriarty, and Dramaturg Elizabeth Pool.Art performs October 5–17, 2004. Press Opening is Wednesday, October 6, at 8:00pm. Performances are held in Vasey Hall, located at Lancaster & Ithan Avenues, on the Villanova University campus. Showtimes are 8:00pm Tuesday-Saturday and 2:00pm Sunday. Tickets are $18-$22, with discounts for seniors, groups, and students.

Villanova Theatre continues the 2004-2005 season with Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s 1956 tragicomedy The Visit, November 9–21, 2004; William Shakespeare’s endearing romantic comedy Twelfth Night, February 15–27, 2005; and the seven-time Tony Award-winning musical Big River, based on Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, April 5–24, 2005. For tickets and information, please call the Villanova Theatre Box Office at 610-519-7474 or log on to www.villanova.edu/artsci/theatre/.

Production Photos

image from production of Art
Serge (Josh Sauerman) and Ivan (Bob Bonocore)
image from production of Art
Serve (Josh Sauerman) and Marc (Nick Falco
image from production of Art
Marc (Nick Falco), Serge (Josh Sauerman), and Ivan (Bob Bonocore)
image from production of Art
Serge (Josh Sauerman)
image from production of Art
Marc (Nick Falco)
image from production of Art
Ivan (Bob Bonocore)

Cast of Characters

IVAN: Bob Bonocore
MARC: Nick Falco
SERGE: Josh Sauerman