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A must-see comedy this January

A must-see comedy this January

WhatsTheirNames Theatre, the company behind the ever-popular Shakespeare in the Pub and Shakespeare in the Garden series, returns this January with the hilarious, widely acclaimed comedy Art by Yasmina Reza.

Art, which was first produced in France in 1996 and has won countless awards including the Tony Award for Best New Play, dives into a 15-year friendship between three men who find their relationship pushed to breaking point when one of them pays a huge amount of money for a work of contemporary art: a completely white painting. 

Serge cannot understand why his friends aren’t as excited about his new artwork as he is. Marc hates the painting and cannot believe any friend of his could possibly want it. Yvan attempts, unsuccessfully, to placate both sides. As battle lines are drawn, old wounds reopen, and the basis of their friendship is called into question. The three are forced to ask: what is the value of art, of friendship, of money? Are you who you are or who your friends think you are?

Philip leone-ganado

Joseph zammit

Nathan Brimmer

Directed by Malcolm Galea and starring Nathan Brimmer, Philip Leone-Ganado and Joseph Zammit, Art holds particular significance for WhatsTheirNames Theatre. The company first staged the play, with the same director and cast, back in 2010, earning hugely positive reviews and firmly establishing the company’s presence on the Maltese theatre scene. The same team has been producing theatre together ever since, and is now returning to Art to kickstart a new season of work after the difficulties brought about by the pandemic.

“Art was one of the first plays we ever worked on together, and to be able to return to it now and share this fantastic comedy with a whole new audience, and many people who heard about our first production but never got to see it, is incredibly special,” says Philip Leone- Ganado, who plays Marc in the production.

“Just like our characters, we’ve now been friends for more than a decade. We’ve been through our ups and downs: we’ve worked, laughed and travelled together, we’ve changed as people, and we’ve also fought – a lot. We’re really excited to be able to bring all that history back into this performance and find out, like in all long friendships, what’s changed and what’s stayed exactly the same.”

Joseph Zammit, who plays Yvan, describes the production as a treat for theatre audiences who love smart comedy that tackles big questions with a light, hilarious touch. “This play asks what happens when the people you’ve been friends with for ages are no longer the same people they were when you first met them, and how we deal with the people we love not loving the same things we do. But really, it’s uncovering what happens when the gloves come off and adults start to behave like children, when you finally reveal all the things your friends do that drive you up the wall,” Zammit says.

“Author Yasmina Reza is known for the witty, sparkling dialogue that makes Art incredibly relatable and absolutely hysterical. We’ve been having an incredible time in rehearsals – reconnecting with these characters and trying hard to keep a straight face throughout it all. I have no doubt audiences will enjoy it as much as we do!”

Art will take place on January 14-16 and 21-23 at the Blue Box Theatre at MSpace, Msida. The play will be staged in English. Tickets can be purchased online.  For more information click here or email whatstheirnames. theatre@gmail.com.