He had closed his 2021-2022 programming in June with the play Bella Figura by Yasmina Reza. Here is that the Théâtre Le Public inaugurates, in this month of September, its new season with this same formidable author and one of her texts most adapted to the world: Art. Huge success from its creation in 1994 in Paris, the play arrived in Belgium four years later with, in the main roles, three young actors – Alain Leempoel, Pierre Dherte and Bernard Cogniaux –, directed by Adrian Brine. The story ? Serge (Pierre Dherte), well-to-do dermatologist and art lover, bought “a white canvas of about 1m60 by 1m20 with thin transverse white borders” for the sum of… 200,000 euros. His friend Marc (Alain Leempoel), an aeronautical engineer but little inclined to modernity, is seized by the exorbitant price of the work and cannot help but mock Serge and disapprove of his acquisition: “Serge, didn’t you buy that shit for 200,000 euros?!”. As for Yvan (Bernard Cogniaux), freshly employed in a paper mill, he prefers not to take a position and stay out of the conflict. But the tension rises: the words overflow, knock. The argument, violent, breaks out. It’s fine, sharp, caustic, terribly ironic and funny: in Arteach verbal jousting is irresistible as Reza targets marvelously, without excess, the issue that animates each of these three males in this cockfight.
A version of maturity
After a resumption ten years later, in 2008, it is in sixties accomplished and become faithful friends over time, that the trio finds itself today on the boards of the Public, directed, this time, by Alain Leempoel ( Adrian Brine disappeared in 2016).
In the mature version, Art is played, here, more in the tone of humor, of the joke between long-time friends. The words, sometimes acerbic, of Yasmina Reza have certainly not changed, but Alain Leempoel, Pierre Dherte and Yves Cogniaux breathe into them, quite accurately, a certain wisdom and a certain distance, which avoid tilting the words of their character in gratuitous wickedness. Nevertheless, Alain Leempoel’s staging orchestrates very well, but very subtly, the relationship of dominance between the protagonists by making them (move) place, in an essentially triangular configuration, sometimes seated or standing and sometimes facing or back. to the public,
The original decor of the room (an immaculate, very bare living room) gives way to the magnificent scenography, sober in black and white, but very imaginary, by Vincent Lemaire: a white outline placed on the stage is reflected in a huge mirror. in the background while a long white bench covered with black seats crosses the stage from side to side. play, Art is done this way, too, an invitation to go for a walk in a museum, an exhibition…
–> Brussels, Le Public, until October 15. Then, on tour in November and December in Éghezée, Wavre, Arlon, Namur, Ciney, Nivelles, Mons and Ath. Info and res. on www.theatrelepublic.be/art