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Art, French Book Essay

4330 words - 18 pages

By Yasmina Reza
A Teacher’s Guide

Table of Contents
Audience Etiquette………………………………….……………….…3 Characters……………………………………….……………………...4 Synopsis………………………………...…………………………….…4 The Source...…...……….……..………..……………………………….6 The Playwright………..………….....……………..……………………7 Glossary of Words……………..……………………………………….8 Follow-up Considerations……………………………………………10 Internet Resources……………….……………………………………12

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Audience Etiquette
For many of your students, a visit to the Alley may be their first theatre experience. It ...view middle of the document...

Furthermore, the Alley reserves the right to confiscate any laser pointers seen inside the auditorium. Visiting the theatre should be an entertaining activity, but it is also one, which requires consideration for fellow audience members as well as the actors on-stage. Unnecessary noise disturbs everyone. Knowing what is expected of you as a member of the audience can make the theatre experience more enjoyable for all involved. The approximate running time of ART is 90 minutes. There will be no intermission.


Marc is a forty-something aeronautical engineer who prides himself in fending off "modern culture." He withholds no judgments and spares no feelings, yet still expects the eager endorsement of his friends. Serge, a divorced dermatologist, is steeped in modernity, but cannot fully appreciate his cultured lifestyle unless it is validated by those around him. Yvan is the youngest of the trio, both chronologically and psychologically. A lifetime of yo-yoing between decisions and kowtowing to his friends and family is beginning to take an emotional toll on him.

ART begins with what will be the first of many revelations from Marc, a single, forty-something aeronautical engineer. In the opening moments, he confides two key points: "My friend Serge has bought a painting." and "Serge is one of my oldest friends." Over the course of the play, Marc, along with his friends Serge and Yvan, will struggle to reconcile the emotions generated by these two seemingly innocuous statements. The first major encounter takes place at Serge's apartment, where Marc sees for the first time, "the painting." Serge, a dermatologist and devotee of modern art and culture has recently purchased (for the sum of 200,000 francs) a "canvas about five feet by four: white." According to Serge, the painting, an original Antrios, is a steal at this price, but Marc is not convinced and feels that his friend has squandered an enormous amount of money on a trivial piece of art. Marc's opinion is thinly veiled and his attempts to diffuse the situation with humor after the fact fail, as Serge takes a defensive stance demanding to know by what standards Marc is evaluating the painting. Neither man is willing to recant and so the two part. Once alone, Serge confides that it is alright if Marc doesn't like the painting, but the arrogance with which he dismissed it is unbearable. Marc, too, is disturbed by the encounter and cannot believe that "Serge, [his] friend, could have bought that picture." Looking for affirmation of his viewpoint, Marc decides that he must speak with Yvan, the third member of this trio. Yvan, who is accepting to a fault, is plagued with his own set of problems, including a new job in the stationery business and his impending marriage. When Marc arrives at Yvan's apartment, Yvan is frantically searching for the cap of his felt-tip pen and generally seems distracted. Marc, intent on gaining Yvan's support in the painting argument...

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