Actors (L to R) Keith Galligan, Andy Kippenhan, and Eric Reinhardt preparing for the upcoming production of “Art” at The Conservancy. This popular comedy attempts to answer the question, “What is art?” Buy tickets at www.cherokeetheatre.org or at the door. Art runs Friday, Aug. 16 and Saturday, Aug. 17, & Friday, Aug. 23 and Saturday, Aug. 24. All shows are at 8 p.m.
How much would you pay for a white painting? Does it matter who the painter is? Would it be art?
Those are the questions that frame Yasmina Reza’s comedy Art, which the new Pickens-based theatre troupe The Gaslight Players will open this week in downtown Jasper.
The French play debuted in Paris 25 years ago and has since been translated and performed around the world including on Broadway. It also won a Tony for best new play.
Art, which offers hilarious commentary on modern art, opens with an exchange between Marc (played by Keith Galligan) and Serge (played by Eric Reinhardt), the latter of whom has just purchased an all-white painting for 200,000 francs from an
artist he respects – but Marc thinks the painting is a joke and begins to question Serge’s judgement. The painting becomes a centerpiece for the two friends’ and their relationship, which begins to unravel. Yvan, an insecure mutual friend (played by Andy Kippenhan) placates and attempts to smooth things over between the two, but his peacemaking backfires.
Writing for The Guardian in “Blank Canvass: The Enduring Appeal of Yazmina Reza’s Art, critic Michael Billington discusses themes at the heart of the play.
The Conservancy, also home to the Atlantic Coast Conservancy, is a new events venue in Jasper. It is located at 80 South Main Street. Learn more at conservancyjasper.org.
“Like John Berger in The Success and Failure of Picasso, Reza clearly asks whether aesthetics is now inextricably confused with market value: when we read that a painting has been sold for countless millions in the auction room, do we somehow rate it more highly?” he writes. “Reza also explores the connection between taste and friendship. Is it possible to enjoy a real relationship with someone whose views on art, books, or theatre for that matter, are radically different from our own? If you embrace modernism, and I’m a traditionalist – as happens with Serge and Marc – is there any real foundation for friendship?”
Art is being directed by Eric Reinhardt, who has been featured in numerous local and regional productions including Smoke on the Mountain and The Foreigner with the Gaslight Players. Reinhardt earned Actor of the Year at Kennesaw State University for his role in Garcia Lorca’s The Public.
Theater goers have seen Keith Galligan in several local productions including The Foreigner with the Gaslight Players. This will be his second time working with the troupe. Galligan is Pickens County’s Associate Juvenile Court Judge.
Andy Kippenhan has worked extensively in local theater as well in a wide variety of productions. This is his first time performing with The Gaslight Players.
The Gaslight Players have teamed up with The Cherokee Theater Company to bring this production to The Conservancy, a new venue space on Main Street in downtown Jasper.
Art is being presented at The Conservancy Friday, Aug. 16 and Saturday, Aug. 17, & Friday, Aug. 23 and Saturday, Aug. 24. All shows are at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, students, and military. Buy tickets at www.cherokeetheatre.org or call the box office at 770-591-0282. Tickets will also be available at the door.
The production has some strong language not suitable for children.