Olivier Castro-Staal

played by Peter Macdissi

Character Bio

"You were my student and my assistant. Now we're competition."

Painter Olivier Castro-Staal, exotic, charismatic and opinionated in the extreme, swept into LAC-Arts as a last-minute substitute for Claire's "Form in Space" instructor. His first act was to announce that the course, listed as a lecture, would instead be a studio class. Declaring, "I don't do lectures," the question of whether he had the authority to make such a change was irrelevant. Olivier, to put it mildly, is not constrained by the expectations of others.

Multilingual and well traveled, Olivier is highly intelligent and given to grand pronouncements about art and life: "Ambivalence is poison for art." "Pain is good for an artist." "An artist never questions her right to experience everything the world has to offer." But he just as often stoops to the puerile, once characterizing a comment by Russell Corwin as "phony baloney caca shit." But Olivier's egotism belies a deep self-loathing. A highly touted artist in his youth - a painting he made at twenty is in the permanent collection of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati - he failed to live up to that youthful promise. He copes with his disappointment by manipulating and even seducing his students. He had sex with Russell and years earlier slept with then-student Billy Chenowith in order to help dissipate the "static" around Billy's sexuality.

Olivier doesn't confine his attentions to his students. Not long after seducing Russell, he had a fling with the recently widowed Margaret Chenowith. They met at a student/faculty art show at LAC-Arts, where Margaret paid twenty thousand dollars for his painting, "Bird Boy" - a hyper-real depiction of a man, naked but for knee-high boots, with a large, menacing crow where his penis should be. Afterwards, Olivier escorted Margaret and her purchase home, where they had sex - during which Olivier gazed at "Bird Boy." For Olivier, this was possibly the most satisfying encounter he'd had in a long time. So satisfying, in fact, that he soon found himself living with Brenda and Billy's mother.

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