Next week, Drama Dock will make its long-awaited return to the stage, with a production of “ART,” a Tony-Award winning comedy by Yasmina Reza.
The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 15, at Vashon Center for the Arts, with additional evening performances on July 16, 17 and 18, as well as a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, July 18.
Directed by Drama Dock’s new artistic director, Lisa Peretti, the play has a three-person local cast.
Two Vashon actors, Jon Kuzma and Bill Epstein, will make their Vashon stage debuts in “ART.” Kuzma has appeared in Vashon’s 14/48 Festival and numerous play readings around town, but “ART” is his first foray in a fully-staged play — and an example of Drama Dock’s long-time commitment to foster emerging talent.
The other stage debut of a local actor is a different story — Bill Epstein, who spends his summers on Vashon and his winters in Tucson, has considerable professional experience. He was nominated in 2017 for an Arizona Daily Star Mac Award for Best Actor, for his portrayal of Walt Disney in the Scoundrel and Scamp production of Lucas Hnath’s “A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney.” He also performed his one-man show, “My Life In Sports,” for the 2016 United Solo Festival at Theatre Row in New York City.
Actor Steve Jones, a familiar face to island theatre fans and a member of Vashon Repertory Theatre, rounds out the cast. Jones has appeared on stage with Drama Dock in “Red Ranger Came Calling,” as well as productions around the country, from Los Angeles to summer stock in Vermont.
Together, the cast will tackle the demands of “ART,” an acclaimed play that Newsweek called “…a nonstop cross-fire of crackling language, serious issues of life and art expressed in outbursts that sound like Don Rickles with a degree from the Sorbonne.”
The show’s plot centers on the relationship of three longtime friends. When one of them buys an exorbitantly expensive white painting, — “completely white, in fact,” — it takes the friends down a gnarled path of disagreement, dissolution, hidden wounds and high hilarity.
For director Peretti, the play’s central props — two bespoke white paintings on canvas — were important.
“The cost of the white painting drives a pointed debate for the characters, so we didn’t want to buy a large canvas that looked like it was worth ten dollars and expect the audience to believe it could be hanging in a Paris gallery with a two-hundred thousand franc price tag,” Peretti said.
Hence, “super-props” will also appear in the production — canvases built and designed by nationally acclaimed artist and designer Rick Araluce, and his partner, Kitty Kavanaugh, formerly a master scenic artist for the Seattle Opera. Araluce’s latest work of a massive, immersive, installation environment was commissioned for the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Islanders who covet the novelty and craftsmanship of these props can bid to win them through a silent auction that can be entered by attending a performance and completing the auction form in the back of the play’s program. Winners of the canvases will be contacted after the play closes on July 19.
Tickets for the show cost $25 and are available now at vashoncentrefortheart.org.
Drama Dock was created by a group of arts-minded neighbors on Vashon Island in 1976, under the inspiration of theatrical agent, Tish Lopez. As the longest-running theatre organization on the island, Drama Dock has presented more than 100 productions during its 45-year history. Drama Dock’s mission is to build partnerships with artists to create classic, original, and musical works for the stage that foster artistic excellence, showcase new and emerging talent, and celebrate community.
For more information visit vashon.dramadock.org.