“My friend Serge has bought a painting. It’s a canvas about five feet by four: white. The background is white and if you screw up your eyes, you can make out some fine white diagonal lines.
The white painting with white lines.”
The lights change and the room goes silent. Marc looks to Serge. To the painting. To Serge. Serge has spent 100,000 Euros on a white painting of white lines. Marc thinks Serge is an idiot. What follows is 90 minutes of the most intellectual version of Jeremy Kyle I have ever witnessed. There’s some petty discussions behind one another’s backs about the purchase of the painting. Poor old Yvan is stuck in the middle. The characters turn to us to vent and rant, completely and hilariously contradicting what they’ve just said to their friend of many years. It comes to a head in a shouting match that could only be seen in the arts section of the Times. Being a slightly ignorant graduate of a drama degree, I assume these to be suitable metaphors.
I was first attracted by the posters. That rarely happens for me. I will normally buy tickets for a play because of the cast and creatives or because I can see it screened in my local cinema. The poster was Tim Key, Paul Ritter and Rufus Sewell throwing paint at each other. I like to think I know the three actors from various productions. Tim Key from Tree with Daniel Kitson. Paul Ritter from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Rufus Sewell from being gorgeous. But let’s face it, Paul Ritter is the dad from Friday Night Dinner and Rufus Sewell will always be Count Adhemer and gorgeous. Now I know the play and the characters, I can’t think of three more perfect actors for the parts. Marc the classic, Serge the modern and Yvan the comfort. As reflected by the three chairs in the sparse room. Anyone else notice that?
The white canvas covered in white paint and white stripes is the calm that brings a storm. Like I said previously, things get a little bit Jeremy Kyle. Each man views the threesome in a different way with different dynamics. Student and master. Equals. Challengers. Nostalgia. Why exactly have they been friends this long when one embraces ‘deconstruction’ and the other would rather eat his own vomit he projectiled all over the carpet after hearing the word ‘deconstructed’? Unlike a Pinter play that would see three men in a room and watch them verbally fight to the death for power, our three men stand back and analyse as if their friendship was a work of art. I actually quiet liked the painting. If I had 100,000 Euros, I would spend it on this work of Art.