Theater: Framed, but Is It Art?

Framed, but Is It Art?

Marcel Duchamp, the French Surrealist, labeled as "art" a battered bottle rack, a defaced poster of the Mona Lisa and a mass-produced urinal. He perceived art all around in the vernacular world. The question pondered in THE MYSTERIES, a multimedia enchantment at Harvard's American Repertory Theater, is whether vernacular life itself -- the life of mating, domestic squabbles and old age -- can constitute a sort of art. At times the idea is posed literally, as when writer-director David Gordon places an ornate frame around actors engaged in a mock wedding. At other times the "mysteries" of creation are interspersed with...

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