Day two of the Denver Center Theatre Company’s eighth annual Colorado New Play Summit heated up just as the snow began to fall. An ensemble of six actors brought to comical life Catherine Trieschmann’s The Most Deserving.
Tasked with awarding $20,000 to a deserving and needy local artist who “demonstrates an underrepresented American voice,” a small town arts council in Ellis County, Kansas erupts into chaos. The collision of egos pushes aside the valuation of art based on merit as the local art council president refuses to consider an unconventional, ethnic artist whose religious art is made out of trash.
Sage philanthropist Edie observes that she “did not match the living fund grant so that everyone could act out their personal grievances,” but grieve they do. Liz, who holds a PhD in art history, teaches at the local community council and is a self-appointed advocate for the mentally-unstable African-American artist, challenges the nay sayers by questioning, “Isn’t great art supposed to provoke?” and is soundly refuted by Arts Council President Jolene who responds, “Not in Kansas.”
This satirical, insightful look at how the arts collide with politics, self-interest, taste, relationships, egos and gossip is ripe with one-liners, memorable dialogue and a fundamental question — how do you place a value on art?