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A: Yasmina Reza Pf: 1994, Paris Pb: 1994 Tr: 1996 G: Com. in 7 scenes, interspersed with monologues; French prose S: Serge's, Yvan's, and Marc's identical flats, Paris, 1990s C: 3mSerge, a successful but divorced dermatologist, has just bought a painting, ‘a white canvas with fine white diagonal scars’, for 200,000 francs. His friend Marc, an aeronautical engineer with conventional tastes, is unimpressed with ‘this shit’. Marc discusses this extravagant purchase with another friend Yvan, unsuccessful professionally but about to get married. Yvan goes to see the painting and expresses his admiration for it, although he later admits that he did not like it. The men are to meet to go out to dinner. Yvan arrives late, full of worries about his wedding. Tensions mount: Marc finds Serge pretentious; Serge considers Marc unimaginative; both are bored hearing about Yvan's wedding. As the three recognize that they have less and less in common, Yvan reveals that he spends 800 francs a week on therapy from an obvious charlatan. When Serge comments negatively on Marc's girlfriend, Marc flies at him but ends up hitting Yvan, who intervenes. As the three reach the point of crisis, Serge hands Marc a felt-tip pen and invites him to draw on his precious canvas – a demonstration that he values his friendship more than his painting. Serge and Marc later succeed in cleaning off Marc's graffiti. A catharsis has taken place.

A: Yasmina Reza Pf: 1994, Paris Pb: 1994 Tr: 1996 G: Com. in 7 scenes, interspersed with monologues; French prose S: Serge's, Yvan's, and Marc's identical flats, Paris, 1990s C: 3m

By birth half Iranian, half Hungarian, Reza is one of France's major woman playwrights, and Art was immensely successful in Paris, London, and New York, a surprising achievement with such undramatic material. Reza traces the movements of loyalty and betrayal between the three ‘bobos’ (bohemian bourgeoisie) with subtlety, wit, and accuracy, while flattering the audience with an undemanding discussion of modernist art.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights) — Theatre.


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