Art opens Sat 10 Dec

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On the twentieth anniversary of the London premiere of ‘Art’, the original creative team is reuniting to revive this award-winning play. Here’s a few words from our Artistic Director Matthew Warchus on the play:

‘In great democracies (we are told) there can often be a very hard-fought and ugly election campaign but after this monumental conflict of opinion the country will come together, reconcile its differences and move forward. Hmmm.

How good are any of us at accepting an opposing point of view? How good at accepting that our beliefs and values might actually be offensive to someone else? How good at understanding that something we love could be legitimately ridiculed by someone else? It takes a great effort to be able to strongly hold one point of view and simultaneously get the point of view of your opposer. It is a rare skill. An art you could say.

Of course, if we were born with that skill instead of an instinct to compete, argue, mock, form gangs and cliques, obsessively defend (and attack) cultures, religions and national boundaries most conflicts would fizzle out.

Sadly, that doesnt feel very human does it? The art of peaceful coexistence eludes us. We care very deeply about things, from childhood and throughout our life. And heres the real problem we really need to be right. And therefore we need our opposers to be wrong. We need winners and losers. It has to be black and white.

When Yasmina Reza (about 25 years ago) went round to her friends house to see the new, almost white, painting which he had bought, she looked at it, and looked at him, and laughed. And her friend laughed too. They laughed together. He loved his painting. She thought it was an absurd purchase. But she loved his crazy impulses. And he loved her honesty and humour. They remained great friends. Later that week Yasmina wondered, What if he hadnt laughed when I laughed would our friendship have survived?

She sat down and wrote this big little play.’

Matthew Warchus
Artistic Director