Wednesday, September 07, 2016


Photo credit: Singapore Repertory Theatre's Facebook.

Happy to slip into a pre-show dinner at the gorgeous National Gallery with the friends, then stroll to the Level 3 Chamber to watch Singapore Repertory Theatre's (SRT) 'ART'. Written by French playwright Yasmina Reza in 1994, SRT first staged this play in Asia in 1998. But I was too young to bother with it. Now, I thoroughly enjoyed the comedy that still hit all succinct and hilarious points 20 years later.

I've no basis for comparison against other production, but this production directed by Danny Yeo see Gerald Chew, Lim Yu-Beng and Remesh Panicker play the three friends who throw up much food for thought and debate about contemporary art. Gerald Chew plays Serge who bought an expensive all-white painting that confounds Marc (Lim Yu-Beng). Their mutual friend Yvan (Ramesh Panicker) is caught in the middle and tries to broker a peace deal between the two and try to convince them to play nice and talk about his upcoming wedding.

There's so much to be said about a blank canvas that passes off for a painting. Or perhaps it's not a painting and meant to be simply art to invoke...thinking. The heart of this play is the 15-year relationship between the three men. The tension, the squabbles and the long-time friendships are thrown into spotlight on stage; most of these struck a chord among the audience. We all deal with it—school, becoming an adult, earning power, career paths, constant search for identity, diverse lives, failed marriages, melodrama and such. By now, how many of us would have had these friends, or the luckier among us would still have them? Whose opinions do you value? I guess that depends on how we've built the foundations of friendship with those we call 'friends'. 

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