Artist writes new play for one-act com­pe­ti­tion

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - OLIVER LEWIS

An art col­lec­tor be­sot­ted with a paint­ing called The 20th Cen­tury steals the work and re­places it with a copy so mas­ter­fully done only one per­son can tell the dif­fer­ence.

The sce­nario is the crux of a new play by Marl­bor­ough Sounds artist Rick Ed­monds, which raises philo­soph­i­cal ques­tions about the na­ture of art, crime and per­cep­tion.

Ed­monds com­posed the 30-minute play, called An Af­fair of the Art, for the top of the south fi­nals of the New Zealand The­atre Fed­er­a­tion one-act play com­pe­ti­tion.

Mem­bers of the Have­lock The­atre Com­pany will per­form the play at the com­pe­ti­tion, which takes place in Wake­field, south of Nel­son, on Au­gust 5.

But Ed­monds says the ‘‘world pre­mier’’ takes place next Thurs­day at the Have­lock Town Hall, a free per­for­mance for the ac­tors to test-run the play in front of an au­di­ence.

An Af­fair of the Art only has three roles: the cu­ra­tor of an ex­hi­bi­tion, the col­lec­tor-turned-art thief, and a young girl who no­tices some­thing dif­fer­ent about the paint­ing.

The young girl does not know the paint­ing has been stolen - the re­pro­duc­tion is that good - but she no­tices some­thing dif­fer­ent about the feel, or the mood of the work.

Ed­monds, a painter him­self, says the play raises ques­tions about the na­ture of art: specif­i­cally, the dif­fer­ence be­tween some­thing con­sid­ered a master­piece and a copy.

‘‘If some­one does a re­ally ac­cu­rate copy of that master­piece, what is the dif­fer­ence?

‘‘And the dif­fer­ence is the soul and the spirit an artist pours into their work,’’ he says.

‘‘You hear peo­ple say,

‘‘You hear peo­ple say, ’my daugh­ter could have done that’. But they don’t un­der­stand the na­ture of art and orig­i­nal­ity.’’

‘my daugh­ter could have done that’. But they don’t un­der­stand the na­ture of art and orig­i­nal­ity.’’

The sub­ti­tle of the play, The Crime of the Cen­tury, is a take on the ti­tle of the paint­ing and a re­flec­tion of what Ed­monds set out to do, to write about the per­fect crime.

‘‘At the end of the play you’re not sure if the master­piece is the paint­ing, or if the master­piece is the crime of the cen­tury,’’ he says.

The free per­for­mance of An Af­fair of the Art is show­ing at the Have­lock Town Hall at 7.30pm on Thurs­day.

Doors open at 6.45pm.

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Rick Ed­monds, artist and play­wright Painter and play­wright Rick Ed­monds has writ­ten a new play, ‘An Af­fair of the Art’.

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