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There are two plays by this name.

Art by Charles Reade (1855)

An English adaptation of Tiridate, ou Comédie et Tragédie, a 1841 French "comédie-vaudeville" in one act about a famous actress, written by Narcisse Fournier (1803-1880)[1], and adapted for the English stage as Art by Charles Reade (1814-1884)[2] in 1855. Reade's play was later better known by the more familiar name of Nance Oldfield (the title under which it was also seen in South Africa).

See the entry on Tiridate, ou Comédie et Tragédie.

Art by by Yasmina Reza (1994)

A French play by Yasmina Reza (1959- )[3].


The comedy, which raises questions about art and friendship, concerns three long-time friends, Serge, Marc, and Yvan. Serge, indulging his penchant for modern art, buys a large, expensive, completely white painting. Marc is horrified, and their relationship suffers considerable strain as a result of their differing opinions about what constitutes "art". Yvan, caught in the middle of the conflict, tries to please and mollify both of them.

The play premiered in Paris in 1994 and went on to win the Molière Award for Best Author.

Translations and adaptations

Since its debut the play has been produced worldwide and translated and performed in over 30 languages.

The English-language adaptation, translated by Christopher Hampton (1946-)[4], opened at the Wyndham's Theatre, in London's West End on 15 October 1996, starring Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott, produced by David Pugh and Sean Connery (1930-)[5]. In October of 2001 it moved to the Whitehall Theatre and would end up running for eight years. The English version received the 1996–97 Laurence Olivier Award and Evening Standard Award, the US Tony Award for Best Play.

Performance history in South Africa

1997/98: Pieter Toerien, in association with David Pugh and Sean Connery, staged a South African production of the Hampton English translation, directed by Mark Graham, with Michael Atkinson (Marc), Ralph Lawson (Serge) and Graham Hopkins (Yvan). Design by Andrew Botha, lighting by Jannie Swanepoel. It played in the Alhambra Theatre in Johannesburg from 8 December to 14 February and in the Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town from 20 March to 11 April.

2009: Performed in the H.B. Thom Theatre, Stellenbosch, for a short run, directed by Marthinus Basson with Christiaan Olwagen (Ivan), Wessel Pretorius (Marc) and Wilhelm van der Walt (Serge).

2010: Performed in the H.B. Thom Theatre, Stellenbosch 2-13 March, directed by Marthinus Basson with Christiaan Olwagen, Wessel Pretorius and Wilhelm van der Walt.

2014: Directed by Marthinus Basson at Aardklop starring Christiaan Olwagen, Wessel Pretorius and Wilhelm van der Walt.


"Anne Oldfield" in Wikipedia[6]

Pieter Toerien theatre programme, 1997.

Pretoria News, 24 February 1998.

Review by Julius Eichbaum, Scenaria (205), February 1998:13-14.

The Star, 14 October 2014.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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