Theatre Arts West, a new performing and visual arts company being formed in Temecula, introduced themselves at the Old Town Merc Theater on Wednesday, Jan. 23, with a theatrical staged reading of “ART.”
“What is art?” was the integral theme throughout. After the staged reading, artists of every genre came together for a collaborate discussion.
“ART” was chosen as the first of six stage reading projects.
Stage readings are a uniquely and challenging genre in which an actor has few props to work off of conveying all that must be conveyed using only voice (tone and inflection) and body language (a gesture or facial expression).
In “ART” there were three props: a white painting, a window view painting, and a dropper bottle filled with a tincture of herbs. The white painting was by Ed Coonce. The window painting was by Robin Golden.
An overview of the night
The theme of the night, “What is art?,” wove three friends into a serious collision course of banter and rhetoric over the subject, which grew into a crescendo of emotion testing their relationships. The cast featured three experienced actors, who are all multi-talented in other genres, as well – Lorin Dreyfuss, Ed Coonce, and Jeff Jones.
In the play, Serge – played by Lorin Dreyfuss – buys a white painting for the sum of $200,000. Whether it is “true” art and worth this price is the question. Marc, played by Jeff Jones, is upset by this and fears his friend has been taken. Yvan, played by Ed Coonce, is complacent, trying to please both sides. Each man is in a different stage of life: divorced, married, and engaged, which plays a part in creating more drama and a different introspect between these friends.
This well-acted theatrical reading was exceptionally timed and believable in its delivery. The clash of thought and feeling while serious in nature lead the absorbed audience into spontaneous heartfelt laughter throughout. This laughter was a testament to the ability of the actors to project the absurdity of arguments for the sake of arguments, a common human condition everyone can relate to. In the end, this 55-minute staged reading lead three friends to self-discovery, honesty and forbearance.
The purpose of the reading was to spark interest in those attending, to come together to explore how to better promote and combine all venues of the arts, and to create something unique to the area which was discussed after the play, an idea close and dear to the heart of Artistic Director and Founder of Theatre Arts West Gailee Walker Wells.
“It has been 19 years since ‘Art’ premiered at the Com