The club’s comedic take on friendship is a work of art

The show: “Art”, written by Yasmina Reza, translated from French by Christopher Hampton, presented by Barnstable Comedy Club.

What is it about : Modern art lover Serge (Frank Hughes, Jr.) bought a painting. He is a popular contemporary artist, and he paid the exorbitant price of $ 35,000 for his new precious possession. He’s dying to show the new centerpiece of his life to his longtime friends Marc (Patrick Preston) and Yvan (Todd Yates Gosselin). Marc is the first to have a glimpse of the canvas, which is, to use the perfectly correct French word, white. It’s true: it’s all white. Marc is nothing if not simple, labeling the work s — t from the start, prompting Serge to call it cynical and anti-modernist. Of course, Yvan – besieged by the disastrous preparations for his next marriage – soon enters the fray. What follows is an often hilarious and ultimately touching take on that priceless commodity: friendship.

Sharing a Laugh is the cast of “Art” at the Barnstable Comedy Club. The cast are, from left to right, Patrick Preston, Todd Yates Gosselin and Frank Hughes, Jr.

To see or not: Go for the unusual mix of intellectual one-on-one, humor, and touching emotional interaction. Newsweek critic Jack Kroll described the show’s treatment of life and art issues as being expressed “in explosions that resemble Sorbonne graduate Don Rickles.”

Highlight of the show: Almost everything about the show is minimalist, from the painting (of course), to a cast of just three, to the austere decor, with its complete lack of equipment. (Scene changes – from one character’s apartment to another – are indicated by paintings slipped into a frame on the back wall.) Edited by Lance Norris, the only thing that is far from minimalist is the interaction of the three tracks. From discussions of the meaning of art, to the exploration of latent grievances, to a long analysis of laughter, the richness of the show lies in the interaction between good friends.

To note: Preston plays Marc as the monster of prototypical control, determined to force life – and his friends – to go his way. He even intends to coax the public into his corner, pleading forcefully from the start his cause directly to the spectators. Hughes, on the other hand, makes Serge a novice and insecure collector, desperate to be seen as a connoisseur. Then there is Gosselin, who infuses his role with a kit full of emotions, and ultimately serves as arbiter between Serge and Marc.

Fun fact: The New Year has begun, which means the Barnstable Comedy Club is officially in its 100th year, making it Cape Town’s oldest live community theater and one of the oldest in the country. It all started in 1922, when theater enthusiast and innkeeper Joe Turpin offered to put on a show (“Lady Windermere’s Fan”) in the old village hall. The first show debuted on April 1, 1922, and the Barnstable Comedy Club was printed on the tickets.

One more thing : Don’t forget to bring your masks and vaccination cards. You will need it to comply with the theater’s COVID-19 restrictions.

If you are going to: 7:30 p.m. on January 14, 15, 21 and 22, plus 2:30 p.m. on January 16 and 23 at the Barnstable Comedy Club, 3171 Main Street (Route 6A), Barnstable. Tickets: $ 25, $ 23 seniors and students; 508-362-6333, www.barnstablecomedyclub.org.

This article originally appeared on the Cape Cod Times: Journal: The Cape Cod Theater’s Comedic Look at Friendship is a Work of “Art”