Studio@620 The Studio@620


The Studio@620 presents "ART", a play about art, friendship and the age-old debate concerning "What is art?".

The Studio@620 presents "ART", a play about art, friendship and the age-old debate concerning "What is art?".  Featuring current students and alumni of PCCA/Gibbs High School. Cast includes actors Sam French, Austin Ruffer, and Joe Stribling, guided by Director/Advisor Rod Hansen. Written by Yasmina Reza, translated from the original French text by Christopher Hampton.  

Art: a play about art and friendship at the studio @ 620

About the play

French playwright Yasmina Reza garnered international acclaim with her play Art (1994), for which she received the 1998 Lawrence Olivier Award for best comedy and the 1998 Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award for best play, as well as Molière awards for best author, best play, and best production.

Art concerns the cataclysmic effect on three friends, Serge, Marc, and Yvan, when Serge purchases an expensive work of abstract art—a large painting consisting of white lines on a white canvas. As the three men engage in an ongoing debate over the value of the painting, emotions run high and the conflict escalates to the point of nearly destroying a long-standing friendship.

At one level, the debate over the painting in Art revolves around a question of aesthetic values, weighing the significance of modern abstract art in comparison to more traditional representational art. At another level, the purchase of the painting by Serge comes to symbolize a deeper rift in his friendship with Marc, a piece of concrete evidence that the two of them have grown apart. Yvan attempts to play the part of mediator between Serge and Marc but is inevitably drawn into the conflict at a deeper level.

Art addresses themes exploring various aspects of the nature of friendship. Most critics agree that Art is less about debates over artistic values than it is about the complexities of friendship. As Robert Hurwitt observed in a review for the San Francisco Chronicle, "Art isn't about aesthetics but the psychological, emotional and power dynamics of friendship." 

--courtesy of


Sam French as Ivan

Joe Stribling as Marc

Austin Ruffler as Serge

"ART" in reviews

"It's an actor's dream, 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. Brilliantly translated by Christopher Hampton, (...) 'Art' takes that yawny old bore, the play of ideas, and jolts it to life." - Jack Kroll, Newsweek

"'Art', which has been translated from the French by Christopher Hampton, is filled from first curtain to ending with a dazzling array of language." - Iris Fanger, Christian Science Monitor

"Ultimately, we realize that 'Art', like the form itself, is universal and all encompassing." - Gopika Vaidya, India Times

Actor Biographies

Sam French has performed in "Me and My Girl", "A Year with Frog and Toad", and "The Crucible" as well as serving as assistant director for "Stage Door" and contributing writer for "Interesting Lives and Other Interesting One Acts" all at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts.  He has also had roles in "No Exit" and "Urinetown the Musical" at the Palladium, in "The Philadelphia Story" at Ruth Eckerd Hall, and in "The Arkansaw Bear" at St. Petersburg Little Theater among other roles.


Austin Ruffer has performed in "Stage Door", "The Crucible", "Metamorphoses", "The Runner Stumbles", "Twelfth Night", and "A Raisin in the Sun" at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts, as well as appearing in "Biloxi Blues" at St. Petersburg Littel Theatre, and "Urinetown the Musical" at Palladium Theatre.  He has also served as Assistant Director for theatrical performances at Tenderfood Productions and Ruth Eckerd Hall Theatre, as Stage Manager at St. Petersburg Little Theater, and as a Writer, Director, and Artistic Director at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts.  Austin won the Lary Award for Best New Talent in 2006.


Joe Stribling has performed in "Born Yesterday" and "Biloxi Blues" at The St. Petersburg Little Theater, as well as appearing in "Urinetown the Musical", "Bella Voce: A Celebration of Voices", and "Smokey Joe's Cafe" at the Palladium Theater, and in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the 8 O'Clock Theater.  He has also served in roles of archival cameraman and archival editor at the Palladium Theater, Pinellas County Center for the Arts, and Ruth Eckerd Hall.


Author Biography

Yasmina Reza was born in Paris on May 1, 1959, of Jewish parents who had immigrated to France. Her mother, a violinist, was from Budapest, and her father, an engineer, businessman, and pianist, was born in Moscow, USSR, of Iranian descent. As a girl, Reza took an interest in writing short stories. Upon graduating from high school, she attended the University of Paris X and the Jacques Lecoq drama school. Reza began working on the French stage as an actress but soon turned to playwriting because she found that acting was not intellectually challenging enough for her, and she resented being under the control of directors.


Patron Sponsors

Smith & Associates Realtors
Al May Central Art Supply Company Bank of AmericaBella Brava City of St. Petersburg Creative Loafing Eckerd CollegeHermanHOME Florida Humanities Council i love the 'burg Gobioff Foundation Florida Arts and Culture - Florida Division  of Cultural Affairs Kahwa Coffee Roasting Law Offices of  Diane Bailey, P.C.Progress Energy Renaissance Vinoy Hotel Rouson & Associates Sembler Company Stetson University College of Law St. Pete Brasserie St Petersburg/Clearwater  Convention and Visitor’s Bureau St. Petersburg Times SunTrust Bank TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach Trust for Public Land Tyrone Frame & Mirror USF St. Petersburg Watermark