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Th 16 Oct 2014
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Serge, Marc and Yvan have been friends for fifteen years. Serge occasionally likes to splash out on modern art. Marc doesn’t. Yvan doesn’t feel strongly either way. Serge buys an all-white painting for 60,000 euros. Marc thinks this is absurd and makes his feelings known.  Caught in the middle, Yvan tries to patch things up but actually makes them worse. The question is: will the friendship survive?

Yasmina Reza (°1959) is a French writer and actor.  Her father was a Jewish-Iranian engineer of Russian descent, her mother a Jewish-Hungarian violinist. ‘Art’, Reza’s most famous play, was premièred in Paris on October 28th 1994 and the next year it won the ‘Molière’ for best playwright and best show in an independent theatre. It has since been translated into thirty-five languages.

‘Art’ is of course first and foremost a brilliant tragicomedy, but the increasingly cynical neoliberal discourse about the relevance of art and culture make it punishingly topical once more.

When is art art?
How much should it cost?
Should a country spend money on art?
Should your hobby be subsidized?

kunst trailer

Stan en Dood Paard spelen Kunst van Yasmina Reza

Reza by tg STAN: High “Art” at the Garonne
“Brilliantly staged and performed by the actors of tg STAN and Dood Paard, who, as they have always done and probably always will, place the text at the heart of their creation while freeing it from all the contrivances of the theatre.”
Nicole Clodi, La Dépêche du Midi, 5 May 2017

Art or not art? That is the question
“In reviving this play, acclaimed by the general public, tg STAN perpetuates its defining principle: theatre is not an elitist art. The version of Yasmina Reza’s work it has produced with Dood Paard enhances the value of artists, even while the playwright is lambasting the world of contemporary art.”
Marie Anezin, Ventilo, 10 May 2017

Art
“A successful revival of a memorable nineties theatrical hit, Art displays all its humour, accuracy and depth in this production, which is typical of the work of tg STAN and Dood Paard.”
Eric Demey, La Terrasse newspaper, 29 May 2017

A blank canvas and a friendship in decay
“The performance is a success. The three actors – Kuno Bakker (Serge), Gillis Biesheuvel (Yvan) and Frank Vercruyssen (Marc) – are all tremendous. They appropriate Yasmina Reza’s words with so much intelligence, and turn their foreign accents, which at first glance could have been a handicap, into a real asset.”
Isabel Fauvel, Les Soirées de Paris, 30 May 2017

Art: Not to be missed
“In a little under two hours the trio explodes, overcome by such a jubilant session of cat-fighting that you’re constantly tempted to stand up and applaud.”
Alicia Dorey, Les 5 Pièces, June 2017 selection

The “Art” of the dispute
“With the pairing of tg STAN and Dood Paard, the quarrel between friends created by Yasmina Reza in 1994 takes on an unsuspected existential depth. Two foreign avant-garde theatre companies bring a new shine to a play which has often been considered reactionary in France.”
Anne Diatkine, Libération, 2 June 2017

Yasmina Reza, Belgianised
“In perfect French, the trio makes us laugh while losing none of the caustic tartness of Yasmina Reza’s writing.”
Armelle Héliot, Le Figaro blog, 2 June 2017

“Art”: the value of judgment
“In the end, the two theatre companies become builders of art and life, deserving the greatest credit and the enthusiastic reception they received from the enraptured audience of the Bastille Theatre. They filled us with a burning desire, the feeling that we too could ‘try to rebuild a relationship destroyed by events and by words’, and what better way to achieve that than through Art?”
Sonia Bos-Jucquin, ThéâToile, 4 June 2017

Yasmina Reza’s mythic play gives “Art” a new lease on life
“Three joyous actors deconstruct Yasmina Reza’s most celebrated play to create a light-hearted and irresistible comic sketch. It’s a little gem of fun and creativity.”
Stéphane Capron, Scèneweb, 5 June 2017

A special kind of “art”
“Our dear irresistible Flemish friends like to bend and shape comedies to suit themselves. They have mastered the art of accurate adaptation. Yasmina Reza applauds them loudly before running off backstage to congratulate them, laughing, happy.”
Armelle Héliot, Le Figaro, 6 June 2017

Art (Fifty shades of Belgian)
“The play no longer feels like the precision-made machine that it is; it seems more like a true slice of life, with all its hesitations, breaks and colourful moments ...”
Jean-Luc Porquet, Le canard enchaîné, 6 June 2017

High Art
“Performed in its full glory, with audience participation, the show is a feast for the mind, brimming with a joyous vitality which can’t help but make you feel good.”
Hélène Kuttner, Artistik Rezo, 6 June 2017

"Art", tg STAN & Dood Paard
“Theatre companies tg STAN and Dood Paard succeed in capturing the spirit of the text despite its impressive dimensions. The result is not a complete reappropriation, but rather a surprising hybridisation; a transplant, strange yet functional, of the flamboyant language of Yasmina Reza into the explosive and generous bodies of the Flemish actors.”
Nicolas Garnier, Ma Culture, 7 June 2017

ART, by Yasmina Reza, a tg STAN and Dood Paard production at the Bastille Theatre
“As always, what really matters to tg STAN and Dood Paard is the complexity of human relations, the contradictions and fragilities in our relationships, even ones of friendship. This blank canvas subjects contemporary art to a close examination, but it’s also a mask. In summarily excising all bourgeois references from the play, in haughtily denouncing vaudeville, the play and its mechanics are laid bare; all that’s left is the text and its raw words. Acerbic language and power struggles. It’s the hallmark of both of these companies that they strip down whatever stock play they’re tackling and purge it of all context, leaving only the pure nectar which they turn into honey. They create a living substance, moving and malleable, which they shape before our very eyes. The result is hilarious, and the knowing, smirking acting, even the conflict between the actors that sits at the heart of the process, is a big part of that. This unique approach gives the impression that they are not acting but improvising the text and the stage design as the performance unfolds; nevertheless, they are faithful to their score, which they dissect meticulously and with greedy pleasure, not hesitating to take a step back and condemn the theatrics, to chastise the spectators who have become helpless, giggling witnesses to an epic quarrel, pure and unvarnished, stripped of all irrelevancies. It’s high art, and it’s exhilarating.”
Denis Sanglard, Un Fauteuil Pour l'Orchestre, 7 June 2017

Have you seen Yasmina Reza’s “Art”?
“Yasmina Reza reminds us that she agreed to let people to fiddle around with her texts. She has no cause to regret it: her play has taken on a new resonance, found a new modernity and encountered a different audience, who gave the show a triumphant reception on opening night.”
Monique Le Roux, En attendant Nadeau, 7 June 2017

A critique of snobbery and speculation in contemporary art by the theatre companies tg STAN & Dood Paard
“The production basks in an atmosphere reminiscent of a workshop, a garage, a squatter’s pad perhaps, where an alternative conformity is taking shape. The actors are at ease, speaking directly to the audience in a natural manner. The play floats along, giving you a feeling of improvisation though all of the effects are perfectly controlled. The Flemish accents are heavily emphasised: they are irresistible in French. The characters are exaggerated, sharply defined, pushed to the extremes of their inner folly. In its own understated way, the production finds the best of vaudeville and the art of the farce. The text is refocused with great intelligence on the relationships between the characters. “Art” is thus transformed into the story of an old friendship which explodes.”
Jean Grapin, La revue du spectacle, 7 June 2017

Yasmina Reza’s Art
“The stage, which is both cluttered and stripped bare (it is, after all, the sole location for theatrical work) is thus akin to a workshop: an artist’s studio, or even a drama workshop. It is precisely this convergence between the theme of the play and its stage design that seems to make the most sophisticated contribution to this production.”
Yvon Le Scanff, Études, 10 June 2017

Yasmina Reza, or a foreign language
“In this play, which speaks about the difficulty of talking honestly with one another, their effort, their accent, the strangeness of certain intonations, all of it makes sense. A sense that is all the more devastating because the STAN players have a unique talent for acting as if they aren’t acting: their work as actors is symbolised by impulse, drive, the obvious. The collusion between their physical, almost animal spontaneity and the effort of holding their own in a language that is not their mother tongue develops into a metaphor for theatre in general: a space where words are both vital and terribly difficult.”
Coup de théâtre, 14 June 2017

Yasmina Reza’s “Art” given a new coat of paint by Belgian rebels
“The play is a beautiful but diabolical machine. And it’s through their acting alone that they extract its essence: when you get beyond the sophisticated variation on contemporary art (which, against all expectations, “wins” in the end), existential vaudeville becomes a black comedy on human solitude and egotism. The audience laughs a great deal, but it is increasingly hollow laughter, faced with the ruins of a friendship that is broken, then pieced back together on a throw of the dice – with the picture of a stage transformed into a storeroom-cum-installation. With their unrestrained commitment, tg STAN and Dood Paard don’t just turn “Art” on its head, they reinvent it, and thereby do it justice.”
Philippe Chevilley, Les Echos, 19 June 2017

Yasmina Reza’s “Art”
“Excellent; the actors reinvent the play and enhance its good qualities. Through them, the characters leave behind their middle-class garb and gain access to a touching humanity.”
Corinne Denailles, WebThéâtre, 19 June 2017

An iconoclastic revolution in the Art of theatrical performance
“You would have expected impressive speeches or caricatures of discussions on Art and the market. There is none of that in this play, masterfully paced and with insane amounts of audience interaction. It shines a spotlight on the flaws of each character and the attempts to keep a semblance of self-esteem and dignity while having an amazing amount of fun in this circus where everyone is a clown to someone else.”
La Fleur du Dimanche, 19 June 2017

tg STAN and Dood Paard give new lustre to Yasmina Reza’s ‘Art’
“Performed by the theatre companies tg STAN and Dood Paard, Yasmina Reza’s ‘Art’ is much more than just a reflection on contemporary art: it’s a proud moment for theatre, a play that is as funny as it is philosophical.”
Anaïs Heluin, Time Out, 22 June 2017

Art: Friendship deconstructed
“In the role of Marc, Frank Vercruyssen is as gruff as you could wish, while Kuno Bakker’s Serge is more flamboyant and Gillis Biesheuvel’s Yvan is trying to find himself. The line between the characters and the actors themselves is tenuous. Say goodbye to the fourth wall. The actors speak directly to the spectators; they are both completely in character and in a kind of permanent dialogue with the audience (...). The connection with the audience is constant. When Yvan is looking for the cap of his pen he asks the spectators about it, the actors make references to the performance itself and ask questions in the most natural manner, without going overboard. All three of them are absolutely extraordinary, at once funny and dramatic.”
L'étoffe des Songes, 25 June 2017

Flemish Art
“It’s pure pleasure to rediscover this play through a new production. The company gives it a farcical accent which is not unpleasant. In reality, it accentuates that aspect of the characters; it is no longer Serge, the eccentric buyer of the mysterious painting, who is strange; now it’s Marc, the accomplished misanthrope, who stirs our sympathy. Their energy, their fantasies and their tall stories carry the play to its limits: emerging from the agreed realism of Patrice Kerbrat’s production, I found myself constantly swinging between belly laughs and hollow laughter, because of how much the absurdity of the situation and the loneliness of the characters stand out; sometimes brutally so.”
Mordue de Théâtre, 25 June 2017

Yasmina Reza’s Art
“The three partners in crime – Kuno Bakker, Gillis Biesheuvel and Frank Vercruyssen – are dazzling; without a single minute’s respite, they have a way of making all the subtleties of the text come alive without neglecting the dissonances, the breaks and pauses. Yvan’s long speech relating his problems with his mother, his stepmother and his fiancée is magnificent.”
François Ménager, Petites Affiches La Loi, 27 June 2017

text Yasmina Reza
by and with Kuno Bakker, Gillis Biesheuvel and Frank Vercruyssen

coproduction STAN & Dood Paard
lighting design Julian Maywald
production STAN & Dood Paard

premiere 16 October 2014, Campo Nieuwpoort, Ghent