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Oct 29-Nov 6: What is Art? at Greenbrier Valley Theatre

At the root of things, it is an extremely simple question. Three words. Three syllables. Infinite possible answers.  What is art? It sounds so simple, and I’m sure the first thing you thought of was something beautiful – and that answer is absolutely correct – to you. To the next person that picks up this paper – maybe that item would be not so much.

Yasmina Reza’s ART follows a group of three friends after one has bought a very expensive all-white painting.

Merriam-Webster defines art as “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.” So a beautiful photograph that was taken of a Hawaiian beach could certainly be considered art by some, but does it express an important idea, or did it take imagination to snap the photo?

Everyone will have different thoughts and opinions on this topic and that is exactly what Greenbrier Valley Theatre’s next production explores. Yasmina Reza’s ART follows a group of three friends after one has bought a very expensive all-white painting. The group bickers and debates about whether or not a canvas painted white is art. Does the artist matter? Does it matter how expensive it was? Was it a completely silly purchase? As these questions are debated, the group begins to turn this conversation into a much more brutal and personal match of wits.

What exactly is art?

ART has won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, as well as a Tony and New York Drama Critic’s award for Best Play. While Reza’s work does feature comedy from this group debate, it really revolves around that simple question. What exactly is art? Why would someone purchase an all-white painting? Or, in a real-life example, why would someone spend $120,000 on a banana stuck to a wall with duct tape? Someone thought it was art!

This show revolves around the reason why producing live theatre is so important. Certain shows, paintings, photographs, or whatever you may put on display can certainly be art to any number of viewers. No one will ever know what inspires or touches some individuals.

Some people love musicals, some people love dramas, some people prefer to go to the movies.

Some people love musicals, some people love dramas, some people prefer to go to the movies. Whatever your particular taste is, is completely valid. Whatever you think constitutes art only matters to you, as long as you take something away from it. What is most important, is that we continue to produce, create, and feature those artistic opportunities. GVTs production of ART just examines this question directly on the nose.

ART opens at Greenbrier Valley Theatre on October 29 and runs through November 6. The show does contain strong language, so viewer discretion is advised. Tickets are $30 for general seating, $27 for senior citizens age 60 and above, and $20 for students. Tickets are available online at the theatre’s website: gvtheatre.org or by calling the box office at 304-645-3838.

– HashtagWV #136. October 2021.

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HashtagWV Art & Entertainment is a high-quality print and digital multimedia platform for all things West Virginia and the greater Appalachian region. The editorial focus is local music, unique shopping, the arts, events, theatre, and food and drinks. tiktok.com/@hashtagwv

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