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Reasons why ART is a masterpiece

TheatreReviews

Singapore Repertory Theatre's ART is a play that is beyond relatable.

ART, a timeless play by Yasmina Reza, is about three friends whose friendships are on the brink of disaster because of a painting.

With Gerald Chew, Lim Yu-Beng and Remesh Panicker at the helm, ART manages to turn heads even though it's the third time it's being restaged in Singapore.

Here are some reasons why ART is one play that cannot be missed.

1. Poking fun at life

One reason why ART is a standout play is that it doesn't take life too seriously.

The whole reason why the friendship of the men is in on the brink of destruction is because Serge, as portrayed by Gerald Chew, purchases a white painting for the absurd price of $200,000.

Remesh, who reprised his role as Yvan for the third time since 1998, led the pack with charm and charisma, and got the audience sympathising with his character who is constantly playing mediator between his two best friends.


REMESH PANICKER AS THE ECCENTRIC AND HELPLESS YVAN, WHO FINDS HIMSELF
CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ARGUMENT BETWEEN HIS TWO BEST FRIENDS.

The eccentricity and idiosyncrasies of each character also brought out an admirable level of humour as they maneuvered the small stage with exaggerated gestures and over the top expressions.

Besides portraying the tangible levels of frustration of the three men from the very beginning, ART also manages to take a jab at the art scene as a whole.

2. The set design is a work of art in itself

Set designer Haziq Surajan somehow managed to envelop the entire stage in a frame-like outline, making the unique setup look like a painting.


THE ENTIRE STAGE WAS OUTLINED BY A GIANT FRAME, THANKS TO SET DESIGNER HAZIQ SURAJAN.

The significance and meaning of art was clearly showcased throughout the play, with the characters subtly hinting at the subjectivity of appreciating art. The entire set had noticeable references to the white art piece as well, including two white lamps of different sizes at opposite ends of the stage.

ART also makes clever use of stage lights to zoom in and out of the characters' personal bubble, making it seem like they are conversing with themselves without the other's knowledge although all the characters were on stage.

Overall, everything was pieced together perfectly and the actors' delivery of their parts, right down to their facial expressions, was on point.

3. Its plot has #NoFilter

Without being polite about it, ART relentlessly conveys the day-to-day emotions everyone faces, especially in relationships and friendships.

Basically a no holds barred conversation about what everyone feels and thinks but never vocalises, the play manages to inject honesty amidst the absolute chaos of the three men's friendship woes.

For example, at one point, Marc (Lim Yu-Beng) explains to Serge exactly why he is so worked up about the painting and says he feels like his place in his friend's life has been replaced by a 5 by 4 foot canvas.


LIM YU-BENG PLAYS THE HOT-TEMPERED AND SARCASTIC MARC.
PHOTO CREDITS: SINGAPORE REPERTORY THEATRE

Set out from the very beginning to embody the brutal honesty that would have you gasping and facepalming in real life, ART will make you rethink the way you handle interpersonal relationships.

If you are looking to be enlightened about relationships in general whilst having a good laugh, ART should be on your must-catch list.

ART runs till 30 Sep at the National Gallery Singapore, City Hall Chamber.