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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011 7 years ago

Scene & Heard

by: Heidi Kurpiela Contributing Writer

+ ‘La Bête’ scribe has a Valere moment 
David Hirson sure knows how to pack it in. 

The New York City playwright, who arrived in Sarasota Jan. 21 to watch the Asolo Repertory Theatre’s “La Bête,” not only caught the Saturday matinee of his Broadway baby, he also watched the company’s productions of “Twelve Angry Men” and “Boeing Boeing.” 

The Molière-inspired comedy, which Hirson penned more than 20 years ago, pits two 17th-century performers against one another— the vulgar and irreverent Valere (Danny Scheie) and the intellectual and humorless Elomire (Bryan Torfeh) –– in a battle for the attention of Prince Conti (Jud Williford). 

The play closed earlier this month after enjoying a four-month revival on Broadway starring “Frasier’s” David Hyde Pierce

During a Sunday morning phone interview from his hotel room at the Hyatt, Hirson answered this pressing question: Are you more of a Valere or an Elomire? 

“I’ve always seen the play as an expression of the extreme features of everyone’s personalities,” Hirson said. “It’s almost as if, in the play, these extremes are exaggerated in a fun-house mirror. I think the vast majority of people exist in a continuum of both. I view myself as having both to a greater or lesser extent from day-to-day and year-to-year.”

As for where on the continuum he fell on this particular day, Hirson laughed and said, “I’m having a very Valere moment talking to you. Watching the words coming out of my mouth, I’m afraid I’m not choosing them wisely.”

+ Inspired teens nab art awards at county art show 
Whoever said art programs are vanishing in public high schools never attended Sarasota County’s annual Evening of Excellence juried art show.

Now in its 16th year, the art contest awarded top honors last week to 22 area high-school students from Booker, Venice, Sarasota, Pine View, Riverview, North Port and Suncoast Polytechnical high schools.
The winning artists (and artwork) were revealed Jan. 19, at an exhibit at Ringling College of Art and Design. 

Booker High School senior Elise Swain was named the Mills Gilbane Best of Show for her photograph, “Solitude,” which will be auctioned off, along with the other winning entries, during the Evening of Excellence gala dinner and reception Feb. 25, at Michael’s On East.

The artists, who were chosen by a panel of art-and-design professionals from a pool of more than 360 entries, will receive an estimated $40,000 in merit awards, scholarships and art department grants the night of the gala.

‘Boeing Boeing’ at Asolo Rep: Watch as jet-setting playboy architect Bernard juggles relationships with three flight attendants in “Boeing Boeing,” which runs now through April 23, at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Expect effervescent performances by actresses Angela SauerKate Hampton and Kim Hausler. For tickets, call 351-8000 or visit

Contact Heidi Kurpiela at [email protected]


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