On March 7, Morgantown's M. T. Pockets Theatre Company's production "Art" will represent West Virginia at the Southeastern Theatre Conference's Community Theatre Festival in Mobile, Alabama.
Produced at the theatre last September, the play, by Yazmina Reza and translated by Christopher Hampton, is about the friendship among three men which is tested when one buys a monochromatic painting for an outrageous price.
Billed as a "tragicomedy," Reza's play won acclaim in both London (Olivier Award for Best Comedy) and New York (Tony Award for Best Play) in the late 1990s.
Directed by David Beach and starring Ben Adducchio, Josh Rocchi and Jim Stacy, "Art" took first place at the West Virginia Theatre Association's Community Theatre Festival last November in Clarksburg. In addition to winning Outstanding Production, Adducchio and Rocchi received acting citations.
The performance for competition is limited to 60 minutes, so edits needed to be made to the play, which typically runs around 95 minutes without intermission.
"Our license for competition allows us to perform a sequence of scenes from the play in chronological order, but we cannot 'alter, update or amend the time, locales or settings of the play'," said Beach. He cut the first five scenes, replacing them with short monologues from the characters in order to set the exposition.
Stacy, who has performed in community theatre for many years, says it has become part of home for him. "To represent West Virginia community theatre at this festival is an opportunity to say thank you to all the creative West Virginians I've worked with over the years."
However, getting to Alabama to represent West Virginia will cost the company several thousands of dollars. M. T. Pockets' founder and artistic director, Toni Morris, says, "Though it is a great honor to be asked to come, it does take some major fundraising to make it happen."
During the weekend before heading to competition, Feb. 27 through March 1, there will be three benefit performances of "Art." Patrons will receive a tax-deduction voucher.