Brave New Productions presentation of the Tony-Award Winning play ‘ART’ by Yasmina Reza opened on February 28th, 2013. An official Nuit Blanche event, the run has been extended until March 9th, 2013. Response to this 10th Anniversary Project has been overwhelmingly positive – in fact, ‘ART’ is officially Brave New Production’s most well-received presentation; an incredible way to celebrate 10 years on-stage.

When Serge (Donald Rees) buys an outrageously expensive painting, it’s an act that may spark the downfall of his life-long friendships with Yvan (Sean Curley) and Marc (Nir Guzinski). You see, the painting is entirely white and everyone has an opinion. What is art? Who gets to decide? A hilarious and thoughtful comedy directed by Emma McQueen. ‘ART’ is produced by David Reudelhuber with lighting design by Isabelle Tremblay.

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Art has smaller canvas but familiar sparkle
Brave New Productions honours Yasmina Reza’s sharp comedy
Pat Donnelly – Montreal Gazette

Having already seen two high-quality professional productions of Art, I was initially reluctant to respond to the news release sent out by a small independent company called Brave New Productions. But the excerpt they performed at the Quebec Drama Federation’s recent spring showcase was amusing. So I crossed my fingers and headed out to Théâtre Ste. Catherine, a locale best known for improv comedy.

While not polished, this production is credibly acted and thoroughly enjoyable.

Donald Rees is right on the money as Serge, the defensive dermatologist who has purchased the snowy painting by an artist named Antrios for 200,000 francs (almost $41,000). A neophyte collector, he was flattered into buying by a gallery owner who may or may not have had his best interests in mind.

Serge’s friend Marc (Nir Guzinski) thinks his buddy has been taken, arguing from the point of view of a classicist who thinks the art world has gone downhill since Rembrandt.

The conflict is set up immediately, with asides to the audience from both parties. “The older I get, the more offensive I hope I become,” declares Marc.

When a third party, the diplomatic Yvan (Sean Curley), is dragged into the argument, he tries to broker peace. At the same time, he’s preoccupied with plans for his marriage, which sounds like a bigger mistake than Serge’s art purchase. Our hearts go out to Yvan as the squabbling sends him into an emotional crisis.

Using the debate about modern art as her fulcrum, Reza proceeds to examine the prickly relationships between these three affluent young men living in Paris at the end of the 20th century.

Director Emma McQueen errs slightly with the wine scene. Full glasses are ignored, then put away. In France, a decent wine is seldom wasted and tends to fuel the conversation. Otherwise, McQueen, set designer Tim Boucher and lighting designer Isabelle Tremblay have made the best of a cramped playing space — on a modest budget.

Yasmina Reza’s hit comedy, Art, staged by Brave New Productions, delivers the laughs.

 

MORE REVIEWS

The characters are unbridled and neurotic, spending a good portion of the play psychoanalyzing their friendship with one another

[…] Sean Curley does an excellent job as Yvan. He is particularly engaging while delivering a long, manic monologue about wedding invitations. He delivers his speech with the perfect amount of comedic timing, truly mastering the author’s frenzied and complicated lines. The interaction between Serge and Yvan is also quite engaging, both actors comfortable in their physicality and offering organic, genuine exchanges […] All in all, ART offers an interesting take on how our life experience affects not only our own tastes, but also how we judge the tastes of others. It questions the subjectivity of how we perceive art, how valuable it is in our lives, and how our differing opinions of what constitutes art affects our relationships.
-Andrea, BloodyUnderrated.Com

La mise en scène (Emma McQueen) propose un traitement efficace […]Le texte comporte une suite de narrations subjectives, dans laquelle les personnages, tournés vers le public, livrent leurs pensées intimes. Ces réflexions intérieures, étant en contradiction directe avec le dialogue qu’elles ponctuent, engendrent souvent un effet comique. L’interprétation est bien rendue de la part des comédiens (Donald Rees, Sean Curley, Nir Guzinski) ; Rees qui nous offre un Serge hilarant et Curley un Ivan tout à fait attachant.
Une scénographie très simple nous attend : un loft épuré, entièrement blanc et contenant du mobilier Ikea neutre qui servira à représenter les appartements de plusieurs des protagonistes. Une réplique de la célèbre lampe artichaut du designer Poul Henningsen, au plafond, fait référence au goût artistique plus développé de Serge, quoique sa commercialisation massive entraine une pensée intéressante sur l’accessibilité et l’absorption par le marché d’éléments de design d’abord artistiques.
Brave New Productions est une organisation théâtrale indépendante qui a pour mandat de livrer des spectacles divertissants, sans prétention, en valorisant un milieu d’échange et de formation. Avec cette pièce, elle atteint parfaitement bien ses objectifs en livrant une pièce à l’atmosphère très sympathique.
-Arianne Cloutier, Montheatre.qc.ca

Brave New Productions is staging ART as part of its 10th anniversary season; part of the focus this year is on friendship and creativity. And this play shows what a rocky boat friendship can be […] Curley does a comical take on poor Yvan, who is navigating the family warzone leading up to the wedding (his nagging mother routine is campy and fun, and the audience gets it). Rees stretches his words and gestures to great effect, teasing out Serge’s irritation and anger as only an art- and status-obsessed man can […]The background of our modern drama fits nicely.Tim Boucher designed the set, an Ikea-like space that nevertheless cleverly masquerades as a series of expensive, sleek living rooms in Paris. Isabelle Tremblay’s lighting is elegant, both spare and focused when it needs to be […] ART is a cutting play that invites you to project your own insecurities about friends, status and money onto a blank canvas.
-Sarah Deshaies, Charpo-Canada

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‘ART’ continues it’s run this week: Wednesday – Saturday.

More information at: http://old.bravenewproductions.com/ART