Photo: Francois Laplante Delagrave
In “Art”, three old friends to see their relationship shaken by a gesture a priori trivial: the purchase price is prohibitive to a picture of an immaculate whiteness.
This is what is called a safe value. With Art, the Theatre du Rideau vert back a popular piece that he had made them discover the city in 1996, supported by a strong cast (Robert Lalonde, Jacques Girard and Marc Labrèche). And at the time of the like on social networks, where what we like defines more than ever that it is, positions us on the chessboard of social and ideological in a world which struggles to accept the differing opinions, this conflict of aesthetics between the conservative, trendy “modernissime” and the undecided — to caricature it — has not lost its relevance.
In Art, we may recall, three old friends — already well different at the start — see their relationship shaken by a gesture a priori trivial : the purchase price is prohibitive to a picture of an immaculate whiteness. An artistic choice that proves to be unbearable for Marc the engineer, threatening his vision even Serge. Beyond the perception of a work of art, the playwright French first deal here, cleverly, of perceptions in human relationships. This canvas will become a developer of speech and posture to which the characters cling to, their expectations towards each other, and will put into question the very foundations of their friendship.
From the outset, this new production seems to rely heavily on the familiarity existing between its three performers, themselves friends and partners in a summer theatre. So that when they come to the front of the stage, before the curtain is raised, we do not know if they are in the skin of their characters or as themselves, already complicit with the public. Art contains many asides addressed to the audience — which measure the difference between the thoughts of the trio and what they reveal really to the other.
Let’s say that with this triad of actors renowned for their gifts of comedy, it was feared a bit to see what text is already satirical to switch frankly in the pure comedy. This dimension appears a lot — it is probably possible to see that this reading — but not a way overbearing. Benoît Brière defends with conviction his character setter without abusing its immense resources comic. And Martin Drainville is needed in giving his Mark, the darkest of the three, an angry back palpable.
Luc Guérin, who spends a lot on stage, garnering plenty of laughs, I seem to pay more in a character of a caricature. Foil and soft centre of the ideological conflict, the character of Yvan, of course, is often ridiculous. But its flaws are terribly human in are a figure that should be enough pitiful, and ultimately endearing.
The show carefully staged by Marie-France Lambert — a first for this excellent actress — is visually appealing. More, the ingenious set design by David Gaucher and lighting design Lucie Bazzo strong colours, often monochrome, which inhabit it, echo the universe of the piece.
Text : Yasmina Reza. Directed by : Marie-France Lambert. At the Théâtre du Rideau vert until 2 march.