C2c Theatre is closing its ninth season this week with a tale of three old friends and one all-white painting.
The theatre company is presenting “Art,” an award-winning comedic play by French playwright Yasmina Reza, at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre’s Basement Theatre tonight until Sunday.
Directed by Nicole Rousseau, the play stars Neil Butler, Rory Lambert and Dave Sullivan as longtime friends Serge, Marc and Yvan. Their relationship struggles when Serge shells out $200,000 for a painting that appears to be no more than a blank canvas with a few lines, leading to a conflict over what constitutes art.
Though questions about art and what it means are raised in the play, the theme primarily deals with friendship, Sullivan explained.
“You know how sometimes you’ve been friends with somebody for a really long time, and you still hang out with them, but you’re only doing it because you’ve always done it? You might not have much in common with them anymore but you feel obliged, and then you think, ‘Oh God, why are we doing this?’” Sullivan said. “It’s horrible, but it does happen.”
Sullivan, Butler and Lambert are longtime friends in real life — Sullivan and Lambert former roommates — which bodes well for the production, Sullivan said.
“Our relationship has run the gamut,” he said, laughing. “It’s perfect because we know each other so well.”
After it debuted in Paris in 1994, an English translation of “Art” ran in London, then opened on Broadway in 1998, starring Victor Garber, Alan Alda and Alfred Molina. The piece has won numerous awards, including the 1998 Tony for Best Play and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy, the same year.
Sullivan’s hoping audiences won’t take the piece too seriously.
“People will take what they want from it, but I hope they’ll come see it and have a laugh. We’re basically bumbling idiots on stage,” he said.
“Art” run each night at 8 p.m., with a pay-what-you-can matinee on Saturday afternoon at 2. Tickets are $22 and are available at the Arts and Culture Centre box office, by calling 729-3900, or online at www.artsandculturecentre.com.