‘Art’ portrays the death of friendship

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‘Art’ portrays the death of friendship

People glibly say, “That’s what friends are for.” But what in fact are friends, when all is said and done? BH Productions, a Seoul-based expatriate theater company for the English-speaking community, poses the question by presenting “Art” through Saturday at Theatre Choo near Hongik University.
Written by Yasmina Reza, “Art” looks at the disintegrating relationship among three men ― Serge, Marc and Yvan ― who have called each other best friends for 15 years. Serge (Ashley Pugh), has just bought a modern art painting, which triggers the start of the breakup. Marc (Bernard Hughes) cannot understand how a person can possibly spend so much on a mere piece of art ― a minimalist white painting. Yvan (Daami Cagney), on the other hand tries to reconcile the two, but ends up making things worse.
Originally written in French, “Art” has earned international acclaim as a dark comedy, being translated into more than 20 languages. Performed in English under the direction of Kirstie Bromenshenk from the United States, this version features amateur actors from various countries. Bernard Hughes, from Ireland, is a founding member of the troupe who has also directed some of its plays.
Established in January last year to meet the needs of the expatriate community for quality theater, BH Productions thus far has staged four plays, including “Cathleen Ni Houlihan” by W. B. Yeats, “Naomi in the Living Room” by Christopher Durang and the first act of “The Last Yankee” by Arthur Miller. The current performance is the biggest in scale to date, Mr. Hughes says. The troupe’s target audience, however, is not limited to the expatriate community. According to Mr. Hughes, Koreans take up about 15 percent of the audience at each performance, and the troupe is actively trying to increase this percentage.
BH Productions also welcomes those who speak English and would like to pursue acting careers. The company auditions on a play-by-play basis, and a previous professional acting background is not necessary, Mr. Hughes says, as long as the candidate is committed.
On Saturday night after the last performance, a closing night party featuring live music by DJ Free follows at Ziller Zone Cafe near the theater.

by Chun Su-jin

All tickets are offered at 15,000 won ($14). Performances start at 4:30 p.m. every day, while there is additional show at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. Theatre Choo is best reached from Hongik University station on subway line No. 2. Take exit No. 6, and a five-minute walk will bring you to the theater. Doors and a bar are open one hour prior to each performance.
For more information and reservations, call (02) 794-4624 (English spoken).
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