Art is a French comedy play by Yasmina Reza. The play has run in London’s West End Wyndham’s Theatre, Broadway at the Royale Theatre, and at the Comédie des Champs-Élysées in Paris, where the play had its premiere on October 28th, 1994. The English version is translated by Christopher Hampton.
The play centers around three friends: Serge, Marc, and Yvan. When Serge buys an expensive piece of art for their apartment, Marc is horrified, as he doesn’t believe that the piece indeed is art. The play is untraditional, and is not divided into acts and scenes; it instead has sections. The white painting is always on display during the play.
The French version has received six awards and has been nominated for seven different titles including; winning the 1998 Tony Award for Best Play, the 1998 Drama Desk Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Molina), and the November 1998 Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy. Yasmina Reza is a French actress, novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, and Art is one of her best-known works.
The plot of Art revolves around the three friends and their friendship. Serge bought a white painting for 200,000 francs, which Marc and Yvan find a bit too expensive. Yvan, trying to play mediator, tries to make peace between Serge and Marc. He is caught between Serge’s enthusiasm for the painting and Marc’s criticism of it as not being art. Serge believes that it is a work of art and argues that it is simply a matter of opinion and taste.
The play is comedic and lighthearted, with each scene ending on a humorous note. The audience is introduced to the three friends and their different views on art which sparks an argument between them. They discuss topics such as friendship and loyalty, and how they are affected by the argument they are having.
The artistic director of the Comédie des Champs-Élysées, Luc Bondy, was the one who chose to stage the play. He also worked with Yasmina Reza on the production, helping her to make the play a success. The play has been performed in multiple countries and languages, making it an international success. It was translated into more than twenty-five languages, allowing the play to reach a larger audience. It has also been adapted into a movie, starring Tom Courtenay, Albert Dupontel, and Jean-Pierre Bacri.
Art has been praised for its wit and humor, as well as for its exploration of the themes of friendship and loyalty. The play is often seen as a commentary on the nature of modern art, with the white painting being a metaphor for the abstract nature of modern art. It is a classic play and has been seen by many as a timeless work of art.