Olentangy Valley News

Comic vignettes

Is it art? Either way, OHS play gets laughs

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LORRIE CECIL/THISWEEKNEWS
Courtney Armpriester as Blakey and Tyler Aquilina as the guard perform Monday, Jan. 28, during dress rehearsal of Olentangy High School's Museum . Performances are set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1-3.
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Art has never been funnier than in the latest production by the Olentangy High School theater department.

Museum, a comic drama, tells the story of a new exhibit of modern art in a New York City museum that sparks bemusement, confrontations and fits of ecstasy.

Three performances are set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1-3.

The play is a series of short, comedic vignettes as characters of every age, background and temperament file into the museum to inspect unusual art pieces, which include towering blank canvases and a series of sculptures made from animal bones.

Cast members said the show is filled with funny moments and wacky characters.

"It will give everyone a good laugh," said cast member Nawzli Nassersharifi.

One character is so captivated by the artwork, she begins a rambling multilayered analysis that bores her friends so much they walk away -- but she's so excited she doesn't even notice.

In another scene, the artwork inspires a kleptomaniac to keep stealing. She swipes bits of the art as her helpless husband looks on.

Another character is so thrilled by the art she throws herself to the floor, wailing and moaning with joy.

And one scene introduces a French husband and wife whose opinions on the exhibit conflict so much it sparks a wild argument -- entirely in French.

"There's isn't a translation so the audience has to watch our body language and listen to our inflections to try to figure the scene out," said cast member Bri McCabe.

Another group of characters is so amused by the art they can't stop giggling.

Through it all, a lone museum guard -- played by Tyler Aquilina -- stands by as the museum guests drive him nearly mad.

Cast members said watching the characters interact will have theatergoers howling with laughter. "It's entertaining because the characters are completely crazy," said cast member Garrett Warner.

And there are a lot of them -- 42 characters in all. Many cast members took on multiple roles to flesh out the huge character roster.

The artwork was created by members of the crew. The strange sculptures feature animal skulls and bones, hunks of wood, bits of coral and even a turtle shell.

Through all the humor, cast members said the show has some serious underpinnings as a commentary on art appreciation.

Cast member Alexa Brennan said the play's author, Tina Howe, thought the public rarely gives great art its due.

"It's a commentary about how the public views artwork, and how it doesn't view artwork," Brennan said. "It's not about the art itself. It's about how people react to it."

After the show, the stage will be transformed into a miniature museum; audience members can come onto the stage to view the original artwork up close.

Tickets are $5 for students, staff and seniors, $10 for adults.

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