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The Art Critics

by Frank Macaluso 3 months ago in Script
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A short three-person sketch.

The first public performance of "The Art Critics" (2019)

The following is a short sketch I wrote in 2018 and workshopped during my sophomore year of college for my Independent Performance Lab class. A year later, I adapted the sketch for a radio program I created and produced for my college's radio station during that time, as seen in the video above. I'm posting this script here for the sake of anyone who wants it. I, the author of this work, hereby give you full permission to perform this in whatever capacity you desire, provided you give me due credit as its author.

CHARACTERS

James: 43 years old; old money; a connoisseur of fine art; does literally nothing else with his life

Kayla: 38 years old; upper middle class; a real estate agent; also enjoys fine art

Blake: 20 years old; a college student; doesn’t know much about art but knows what he likes

SCENE

The Museum of Contemporary Art

Chicago, IL

TIME

Present day

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SETTING: An exhibit in a museum. It is rather typical in what it contains: paintings hung on the wall; the odd sculpture; and, of course, benches.

AT RISE: BLAKE stands downstage center, looking out at a painting unseen by the audience. JAMES enters and walks up to BLAKE, eyeing the same offstage painting.

JAMES : Excuse me. Is that the new Hodgson painting?

BLAKE : Yeah.

JAMES : Ah. Very interesting work of art, isn’t it?

BLAKE : Yeah, sure.

(KAYLA enters. She walks toward JAMES and BLAKE.)

KAYLA : Excuse me. Is that the new Hodgson painting?

JAMES : Yes, it is.

KAYLA : Ah. Quite astounding. One of his best, I think.

JAMES : Are you familiar with Hodgson’s other works?

KAYLA : Oh, yes; I have an original work by him in my den.

JAMES : Do you, now? (beat) I have two in my study. I needed something fresh and new that matched the drapes, so I commissioned him to create two new works for me. They’re devastatingly beautiful.

KAYLA : Ah. (beat) I think this is my favorite of all his paintings.

JAMES : Oh, really?

KAYLA: Yes. I especially like the use of bright, vivid colors. It provides a nice contrast to the general shadowiness of the work. Sort of an ode to the natural beauty of life in spite of the darkness that plagues it.

JAMES : Ah. (beat) I see it more as a criticism of modern society. I mean, those bright colors are clearly meant to symbolize artificiality and escapism. As a whole, it seems to be criticizing our tendency to ignore the darkness in the world at the expense of not making any actual change.

KAYLA : Really? I see it more as a tribute to whimsy and fancy. I mean, in the middle of this dreary scene, there they are, assembled together, glowing unashamedly...in some small way, they actually serve to brighten the whole picture up.

JAMES : But they aren’t lighting up the whole picture! They’re only shedding light on what they want seen! They’re a distraction! A distraction from the even greater darkness that lies beyond the frame of the painting! Children starving in third-world countries, wars in the Middle East, racism and bigotry here in the United States! They are a distraction, and we are eating out of their hands, unaware of the freshly-sharpened axes they are holding behind their backs! Escapism is going to be the death of us! That is what this painting symbolizes!

BLAKE : Good God! It’s just a frickin’ bowl of fruit! (under his breath) Man, you guys are weird...

(BLAKE walks off as JAMES and KAYLA look on. A beat.)

JAMES & KAYLA : Ah.

(BLACKOUT)

(END OF SKETCH)

Script

About the author

Frank Macaluso

A comedian. I may have made a huge mistake.

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