The scene is an artist's studio, where two painters, James and Barney, are working from a semi-nude model, Leon. As the two artist are quite different in temperament and style, it is inevitable that their interpretations also differ—resulting in a progressively more heated (and funny) debate about the meaning of art and the superiority of one approach over another. James is controlled, dispassionate and meticulous; while Barney is messy, impetuous and emotionally volatile. Leon, meanwhile, finds it increasingly difficult to maintain his composure as the verbal battle rages about him, and eventually he, too, joins the fray. In the end it is Leon who resolves the dispute by pointing out, quite simply, that if an artist is to truly understand what he is painting he must put himself in the place of the model—which unexpected thought leads to the hilarious and surprising climax of the play.
Initially presented by the Actors Theatre of Louisville, as part of its Festival of New American Plays, this wry and very funny play pokes gentle fun at the pretensions of "serious artists." "Broadhurst's EYE OF THE BEHOLDER takes a potentially amusing situation and runs away with it to hilarious destinations." —Louisville Courier-Journal. "…explosively entertaining a wonderfully funny play." —Louisville Times.