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'Art'

'Art'
Your Price: $18.95 CDN
Biz Staff Pick!
Author: Yasmina Reza
Translated by: Christopher Hampton
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 50
Pub. Date: 1999
ISBN-10: 0822216582
ISBN-13: 9780822216582
Cast Size: 3 male

About the Play:

'Art' has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Male/Male Scenes.

'Art' is a full-length serious comedy by Yasmina Reza, translated with elegance and élan by Christopher Hampton. The relationship among three friends is turned upside down when one of them drops a fortune on a pure white painting. 'Art' focuses on the meaning of art as well as the meaning of friendship, to both the man who bought the painting and the two friends who come to see it. Will their friendship survive?

'Art' explores the intricacies of a long-term friendship between three men. How much would you pay for a white painting? Would it matter who the painter was? Would it be art? One of Marc's best friends, Serge, has just bought a very expensive painting. It's about five feet by four, all white with white diagonal lines. To Marc, the painting is a joke, but Serge insists Marc doesn't have the proper standard to judge the work. Another friend, Ivan, though burdened by his own problems, allows himself to be pulled into this disagreement. Eager to please, Ivan tells Serge he likes the painting. Lines are drawn and these old friends square off over the canvas, using it as an excuse to relentlessly batter one another over various failures. As their arguments become less theoretical and more personal, they border on destroying their friendships. At the breaking point, Serge hands Marc a felt tip pen and dares him: "Go on." This is where the friendship is finally tested, and the aftermath of action, and its reaction, affirms the power of those bonds.

'Art' premiered in 1994 in French at Comédie des Champs-Élysées in Paris. The English-language adaptation, translated by Christopher Hampton premiered in 1996 at the Wyndham's Theatre, won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy and ran in London's West End for eight years. It opened on Broadway in 1999 at the Royale Theatre, won the Tony for Best Play and went on to a 600-performance run. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and has been mounted by high schools, colleges, and community theatres.

Cast: 3 male

What people say:

"This is not some irrelevant fringe production; it is a major intervention in the cultural debate of the country by people who are keen to keep the reactionary tides running. It is probably the most sustained attack on modernism yet seen on the British stage, and it represents a stern challenge to the brilliant success story of British contemporary art." — The Guardian

"…wildly funny, naughtily provocative…." — New York Post

"It's an actor's dream, a nonstop cross-fire of crackling language, serious issues of life and art expressed in outbursts that sound like Don Rickles with a degree from the Sorbonne. Brilliantly translated by Christopher Hampton … Reza is a fiendishly clever writer … 'Art' sounds like a marriage of Molière and Woody Allen…." — Newsweek

"Anyone looking for a play that is funny, sophisticated, stylish, stimulating and moving should go to 'Art'." — Independent (London)

"That such a simple plot can throw up such profound and meaty ideas about the rules that dictate art and friendship is a real treat. Reza and Hampton have an acute ear for the idiocies, trivia and petty assaults that pepper the conversation between friends…The real pleasures come from Reza's creation of three beautifully defined, original characters…." — The Mail (London)

"In October I called it a minor classic. Let's change that to classic comedy, period." — London Times

About the Playwright:

Yasmina Reza is an acclaimed French playwright, screenwriter, and novelist. Her first play, Conversations After a Burial (Conversations Après un Enterrement) won her the 1987 Molière Award for Best Author along with a Johnson Foundation Award and a SACD New Talent Award. Her other works for the theater include 'Art' and The Unexpected Man, among others. She lives in Paris.

Christopher Hampton is a British playwright, screenwriter, director, producer, and a consummate translator and adaptor of novels. He is perhaps most famous for his play Les Liaisons Dangereuses (based on the novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos), which won an Olivier Award in 1986. He adapted the play for film and won an Oscar for the screenplay. His theatre work includes the stage adaptation of Sunset Boulevard for Andrew Lloyd Webber, which received Tony Awards for both Book and Lyrics. He has translated a wide range of works including classics by Chekhov, Ibsen and Moliere as well as contemporary plays by Yasmina Reza and Florian Zeller. His long list of screenplays includes A Doll's House, The Good Father, Total Eclipse, and The Quiet American.

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