“Art” is a Piece of Art


Niles West Theatre’s poster of “Art” listing the viewing dates and times.

By Jessica Palmer and Katelin Chong

Niles West Theatre is up and running with “ART,” their first performance of the year since the COVID lockdown at the beginning of 2020.

The show opens up by introducing two of the three characters Marc, played by senior Jake Pranian, and Serge, played by junior Ellie Evans. Marc introduces the main conflict of the story: Serge has bought a white painting with white diagonal lines for $200,000. Marc becomes outraged by this, as does the audience. He confronts Serge, which starts their feud.

In comes the third main character Yvan, played by junior Henry Fleck, caught in the crossfire. Wanting to support Serge but also not wanting to disagree with Marc, Yvan is in the middle. Marc and Serge continue their argument as Yvan is trying to get advice for his relationship problems. Their argument continue to loop, repeating the same points and not getting anywhere, while Yvan is still helpless on his upcoming marriage.

I did not enjoy the plot as much since it felt overly repetitive. There were some in-between scenes that brought me humor, but then it just went back to their argument. Personally, it was difficult to follow the conclusions they were coming to because it felt like another clash about the same thing.

The actors did a marvelous job at portraying each character. Their body language and tone of voice matched their personalities perfectly. Marc had the fiery personality, while Serge was confident and continued to keep up with Marc’s comments about her purchases. Fleck clearly portrayed his stress of dealing with his own problems while dealing with his friend’s issue. Although the plot was not my taste, the acting made it enjoyable. They had a full range of emotions, from audibly laughing together on stage to talking to the audience.

While the performances by the actors were outstanding, the stage setup and lighting also played huge factors in this performance. One especially noticeable feature was how the lighting would change whenever a specific character voiced their inner thoughts — for example when Marc spoke his mind, all the lights would fade except for a red spotlight shining on him. When Serge spoke, the lights turned bright blue, and when Yvan spoke, the lights turned yellow. It was like the world stopped, and the audience got an inside scoop of the character’s inner thoughts. These effects really kept the audience intrigued with the story, and the colors told a lot about the characters themselves.

The actors were very interactive with their props, eating nuts and pouring drinks; it was refreshing to see them act so naturally on stage. They did a great job staying in character and using their surroundings to an advantage, constantly moving around and using the set freely.

Overall, it was great to be back in person at the Niles West theatre. Everyone behind the performance deserves a round of applause, and we are looking forward to seeing what Niles West Theatre will bring to the stage next!