The-Street-Theatre-ART-by-Susan-EarlAre you who you think you are or are you who your friends think you are?

Canberra’s award-winning home of live storytelling and performance, The Street Theatre presents Yasmina Reza’s contemporary classic, Art this September.

Enjoying a runaway success around the world since 1996, the Tony Award-winning comedy by the leading French playwright paints a satirical and witty portrait of male friendships with the scintillating English translation by Christopher Hampton.

An acclaimed French playwright, screenwriter and novelist, Yasmina Reza is best known for her plays God of Carnage and Art, with the latter winning the triple crown in the theatre world – the French Molière award, the British Olivier award and the American Tony award.

Well-known for his Academy Award winning Dangerous Liaisons and a Titan of English theatre, Christopher Hampton, playwright, screenwriter and ace translator, brought his artful style to an English translation.

International comedy sensation Shane Dundas returns to his hometown to take on the role of Serge who has bought a modern work of art for a large sum of money. Marc hates the painting and cannot believe that a friend of his could possibly want such a work. Yvan attempts, unsuccessfully, to placate both sides with hilarious consequences.

As debate over the purchase becomes ever less amicable and the trio are reduced to questioning what they had in common in the first place, only an artful sacrifice can repair the breach and restore the bonds of friendship.

“A light, bright and vicious comedy, my approach to our production makes the stage like a blank canvas where the actors can bounce off each other, and become distinct figures in an ever-changing picture; as if they are almost in the artwork themselves,” said director Shelly Higgs.

“Considering Yasmina Reza was around my age now when she wrote the play, I’m interested how our female view of male relationships translates, across language and time, and to highlight her sharp insights within this abstract playground.”

“Reza uses the white-on-white painting as a metaphor for the fragile ties that bind people together. Divided over modern art, a wicked battle of the wits unfolds threatening to unravel their friendship as insults and innuendos go back and forth from the painting to the personal as each discover who they really are and what they value most.”

“In our current landscape, politics are polarised, teal independents take on black and white thinking, citizens vote for change, and issues become more important than personalities. Can friendships tolerate challenges to tightly held beliefs? Do friendships have a use by date?” said Higgs.

With direction from Higgs in her first mainstream production for The Street, Canberra’s finest actors Shane Dundas (The Umbilical Brothers), Christopher Carroll (Metamorphosis) and Craig Alexander (St Nicholas) step into their characters in a play perfectly suited to their talents and abilities.

A team of creative designers Imogen Keen (set), Kimmo Vennonen (sound) and Gerry Corcoran (lighting) create a playful set lighting bright a fiendishly clever and wildly funny modern work.

A creative powerhouse, The Street was the recipient of a 2020 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award for outstanding achievement. Audiences are invited to share in musings on what matters most in friendships and can expect art madness, poignant moments, comedic turns, philosophical punches and slapstick duels in The Street’s sharp and sparkling take on Art.

Join a conversation between The Street’s Artistic Director & CEO Caroline Stacey OAM, director Shelly Higgs, and designers Imogen Keen and Gerry Corcoran as they delve into the production of Art in Meet The Makers: Director and Designers in Conversation – Sunday 11 September 2022 – 3.00pm

The Street Theatre, 15 Childers Street, Canberra City West
Season: 6 – 11 September 2022 (preview: 5 September)
Information and Bookings:

Image: Artwork by Susan Earl