The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
August 11, 12, 13 & 14, 2010.
by Yasmina Reza
Mark Best – Marc
Rols Ham-Riche [Roland Hamilton] – Serge
Ryan Lainchbury – Yvan
Stage Manager – Hem Cleveland
Lighting & Sound – Mike Medway
Sound Recordings – Bob Ryder
Props – Margaret Davy
Props – Sue Whittaker
Workshop Team – Sue Chaplin
Workshop Team – Dave Collis
Workshop Team – David Comber
Workshop Team – Margaret Davy
Workshop Team – Sheila Neesham
Workshop Team – Martin Oakley
Poster Design – Judith Berrill
Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Publicity – Rosemary Brown
Production Photos – Lucien Bouchy
The ‘Canvas’ – Sue Chaplin
Front of House – Betty Dawes
Programme Note #1: Art
JG wrote: “Throughout our lives we meet many people. Some are important to us for short periods of time, while others remain friends for many years. Some we see every day, while others we contact just once a year. What makes friendship work? Like all relationships, they need to be nurtured – we need to try to support our friends hen they need us and forgive them if they are unable to always be there for us.
Within a group of friends there need to be people who take different rôles to to keep the group together. If one person’s circumstances change, everyone needs to adapt to that change, or the group will splinter. This play is not about Art, it is about what happens when a piece of art becomes more important than a friendship.
I am fortunate to have many different groups of friends – from school, work, sport and theatre – and I thank them for always being there when I need them.”
Publicity #1: Art
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: Unknown
Text Header: Prize-winning Wick unveils latest offering
TAKE three long-time friends, introduce one extremely modern painting…and stand well back. Art, Yasmina Reza’s black comedy about what happens next, is Wick Theatre Company’s choice for this summer. Translated from the French by Christopher Hampton, the play won awards on both sides of the Channel and is set in Paris.
It is the story of Serge, Marc and Yvan, who suddenly find their previously solid 15-year friendship on shaky ground when Serge spends a huge sum on an extraordinary piece of art. The canvas is white, with a few white lines.
Serge, played by Rols Ham-Riche, is a dermatologist, proud of the success he has had in life. Delighted with his 200,000 franc acquisition, he fully expects his friends to approve. Marc, however, an aeronautical engineer, played by Mark Best, hates modernism and can’t find anything good to say bout the work. But is it the painting that offends him, or the fact that Serge has made the purchase without asking his advice?
For the insecure Yvan, played by Ryan Lainchbury, worried about his up-coming wedding and hating his job as a stationery salesman, the friendship provides an escape from his problems. Sadly, his attempts at making peace are doomed. He ends up becoming involved in the quarrel, which gets more and more personal. Will their relationship survive?
The play, directed by John Garland, will be performed in the round, bringing the action up close and personal.
Performances run from Wednesday, August 11, to Saturday, August 14, at the Barn Theatre, in Southwick Street, Southwick. Curtain-up is at 7.45pm. Tickets, priced £9 for Wednesday and Thursday and £9.50 for Friday and Saturday, are available from the box office on 01273 597094 or at www.wicktheatre.co.uk
WICK Theatre Company is celebrating after scooping a prestigious drama award for the second year running.
Its acclaimed production of Michael Frayn’s Noise Off, an hilarious play within a play, at the Barn Theatre in April, has earned an accolade of excellence form the National Operatic and Dramatic Association [NODA]. Last year, Wick’s performance of Abigail’s Party picked up a similar award. Phillip Hall, representing NODA’s south-east region, said there had been absolutely no contest when it came to choosing this production for the accolade. He described it as a “remarkable team effort”, with “outstanding performances”.
Review #1: Art
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Sheena Campbell
Text Header: This Art hit the spot
A PLAY with minimal props and just three characters, centred on a modern painting, could have been a truly boring piece of theatre. Fortunately for Wick Theatre Company, director John Garland’s masterful reworking of Art, a play by Yasmina Reza, was anything but.
The action revolved around three men, Marc, Serge and Yvan, who have been friends for 15 years. When Serge, played with just the right amount of pretension by Roland Hamilton, spends an enormous sum of money on a white painting, with white lines, his relationship with Marc, played by Mark Best, begins to disintegrate. The apologetic Yvan, portrayed by Ryan Lainchbury, is drawn into their argument as he tries to keep both of his friends happy.
With moments of laugh-out-loud comedy, interspersed with moments of touching truth, this was not really a play about a painting, but how gradual changes in the dynamic of a group can, with one seemingly insignificant action, lead to a major turning point in relationships.
This is a play everyone can enjoy because everyone will recognise elements of their friends, and themselves, in at least one of the characters. John Garland should be praised for several decisions he made about the staging of this play.
Firstly, to stage it in the round, so that the audience was given the feeling of being the metaphorical fly on the wall; secondly, the decision not to have an interval, so there was no interruption to the flow of arguments and discussions, and, thirdly, including a short monologue from each of the characters at the end of the play which had been removed from the original in some adaptations. For those who have not yet had the pleasure of seeing Art, I won’t ruin it by going into the details, but these three short scenes, beautifully lit by Mike Medway, tie in with the whole feel of the play wonderfully.
Mark Best managed to set the tone for Marc in his very first, slightly bemused and cynical, lines at the start of the play. His attempts to bite his tongue at what he saw were constantly undermined and he ended up exploding with moments of rage. He was also representative of the whole feel of the play as, shortly after one of the most truthful admissions about how he perceived the group’s friendship, a truly touching moment, he also produced one of the most hysterical moments, involving a felt tip pen.
Roland Hamilton was equally believable as Serge, the “collector” who insists his white painting is not white. Perhaps the most understated of the three characters in terms of violent outbursts, he managed to convey disdain, boredom and annoyance with a few well-chosen facial gestures and body movements, including the most loaded foot-tapping I have ever seen. His timing was also superb in the moments where the characters, highlighted in a single spotlight, revealed their true feelings to the audience rather than their friends.
Ryan Lainchbury was nothing short of brilliant as the apologetic Yvan. His slightly cowering, nervous, scratching character was almost incidental at times as the other two provoked each other to breaking point. Then all of a sudden, he would erupt with righteous anger at their treatment of him and each other. Ryan created some of the biggest laughs of the evening. His dramatic entrance to Serge’s home and recreation of an argument with his mother and fiancée over wedding invitations and the presence of various stepmothers had the audience in stitches.
Everyone involved in the staging, execution and concept of this play should be truly proud of what they have achieved.
One of my most enjoyable nights at the theatre.
Review #2: Art
Publication: Brighton Argus
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Barrie Jerram
Text Header: Emotional earthquakes of a friendship betrayed
ART, a play without a plot, could easily be described as a 90-minute argument but it is much more. It is an entertaining and extremely funny play involving three old friends whose intellectual squabbling looks at friendship and its betrayal as it debates the question, “What is Art?”
The purchase of a large white canvas provides the catalyst for an emotional earthquake that shakes the foundations of their relationship. The writer cleverly depicts the shifting alliances formed throughout the play. Serge is desperate for validation from his friends over his purchase, but it is not forthcoming from Marc, his one-time mentor, who feels betrayed when Serge becomes influenced by a circle of other people. Yvan, a peace-making fence-sitter, is neurotic and disorganised in contrast with his two cerebral friends. Like them he possesses a volatile nature that comes to the surface when provoked.
The play, directed with understanding and sympathy by John Garland, gives the three cast members scope to show off their talent.
Mark Best played Marc with such passion that one feared the emotional pressure within him would cause him to explode. By contrast Roland Hamilton made Serge a more cynical figure, ever defensive of his wounded pride. His facial expressions were a comic delight. As the shambolic Yvan, Ryan Lainchbury drew the audience’s admiration for his mounting hysteria as he recounted the telephone conversations with his mother.
The transition between place and time was effectively achieved through creative lighting, although the use of overlong blackouts was questionable.
Review #3: Art
Publication: N.O.D.A – National Operatic and Dramatic Association
Reviewer: Phillip Hall – Regional representative for South East Region District 1 – Mid Sussex
Three very talented actors treated their audiences to a most entertaining evening of mixed emotions – both for the characters and the audience!
Mark Best gave Marc exactly the right level of exasperated arrogance. He made quite clear, by interpretation of the dialogue, facial expressions and body language, his complete failure to comprehend any alternative view to his own.
Roland Hamilton played Serge with equally impressive presence showing a more cultivated, calm superiority and self-control.
Ryan Lainchbury as the poor relation of the three friends maintained his very low profile in the relationship only showing a remarkable change of personality when almost overcome by a domestic crisis. The applause that greeted his prolonged rant was richly deserved.
All three characters worked well together and delivered their dialogue with commendable clarity. Their moves and general use of the performing area were well plotted and executed. The time intervals were well handled by an excellent choice of music. The stage furniture was scant yet perfectly adequate.
In keeping with the standards of Wick Theatre Company, it would be very difficult to find any fault with John Garland’s direction. The humour and the tensions were all fully drawn out and the technical aspects extremely well handled.
Comment #1: Art
Publication: Wick Newsletter
Publication Data: March 2001
There’s exciting news from the cast of Art, Wick’s highly successful production in August last year. Rols Ham-Riche, Ryan Lainchbury and Mark Best, along with director John Garland, are all set for repeat performances in the Brighton Fringe.
Playing under the banner of Blackstone Productions, they performed two performances each night at the Komedia on 9th and 23rd May 2011.