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Picasso at the Lapin Agile logoPicasso at the Lapin Agile
by Steve Martin

May 5 - 27, 2000
Directed by Jo Perryman

Einstein, Elvis, and PicassoAs the 20th Century rushed to a close, marked by unbelievable achievements and unimaginable horrors, comedian Steve Martin created a play that wraps up the century.

In "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," he brings together three of the century's most influential figures, namely Picasso, Einstein, and a revered rock and roll superstar. If it sounds a little wild and crazy, that's because it is, as Martin sprinkles a little philosophy between the jokes that fly fast and furious.

 

Martin's carefully chosen time is 1904, his place the Paris bar Le Lapin Agile. Translated "the nimble rabbit", it's a bar that Picasso actually frequented and even painted in an early work.

    

The bar is a hangout for artists, writers, and eccentrics who are giving direction to the new century's avant-garde. A 25-year-old Albert Einstein is waiting for a woman friend, but in the course of events, he also meets the future in the form of Pablo Picasso at age 23.

   

Each is on the verge of his break-through work. (One year later, Einstein's "The Special Theory of Relativity" will be published, and three years later Picasso will set the course for cubism and modern art with his painting "Les Demoiselles D'Avignon.")

On this night however, they are bursting with youthful zeal and egotism as they debate and challenge each other. Each is sure he holds the key to the new century's greatest idea, but instead of highbrow lecturing, it plays out like two gunslingers in a Wild West saloon. They circle each other, pencils at the ready, shout "draw" and begin scribbling.

When the dust settles, Picasso remarks dismissively to Einstein, "Yours is just a formula."

"So's yours!" the scientist counters triumphantly.

The play combines two of Martin's passions. He's an art collector and a science buff. When asked about his inspiration for the play, he explained, "When I started out I hung around a nightclub in L.A. called the Troubadour. Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles started there. And I went to the Metropolitan and there's Picasso's painting of the Lapin Agile. I thought of that picture's journey from that little bar to the Met 40 million dollars later. When I started writing, I didn't know Einstein was going to be in it. He just came. I've always been a science fan. Also, I think the creative process in art and science is very similar. You have to forget all the rules and start shaking things around.

When a visitor from the future arrives in the form of a hip-swiveling singer from Memphis, Steve Martin adds a third major influence of the century. But which will have the biggest impact on humanity? Art, Science, or Pop Culture? In a moment of celestial fantasy, Einstein and Picasso see their names spelled across the heavens, but they don't see the visitor's.

"Oh yeah, it's there. Right above both of yours and three times as big. Just like Vegas," the visitor points out and then adds, "Get used to it gentlemen, 'cause that's the way it works." It's a touch of cynical humor from a playwright who may be a refined intellectual at heart, but is world-famous as that "wild and crazy guy".

Picasso cast

 THE CAST

"Au Lapin Agile" by Picasso
Au Lapin Agile

"Les Demoiselles D'Avignon" by Picasso
Les Demoiselles D'Avignon

 

Freddy Corey Whaley
Gaston Bob Cross
Germaine Heather Jernigan
Albert Einstein Kirk Mace
Suzanne Amanda Danskin
Sagot Richie Rayfield
Pablo Picasso Chris Rodgers
Schendiman Brett Young
The Countess Abby Redmon
Female Admirer Jennifer Manley
A Visitor Chad Baker
.
 THE CREW
Director Jo Perryman
Stage Manager & Light Board Operator R. Lance Garrett
Set Design &  Construction Tom Harrington
Lighting Designer Stephen Gillmore
Costume Designer Corey Martin
Properties Mistress Julie Bohannon
Sound Board Operator Jennifer Coon
Running Crew Tom Gibson
Genger Gibson
Music Arrangements Dr. Stephen Weber
Picasso Painting Amy Harrington
Sheep Pastoral Painting Heidi Hoffer
Matisse Painting Liz Spotts
Specialty Set Painting Nick Backes
.

 SPECIAL THANKS TO

USAO Drama & Arts Departments - Roger Drummond - Deck the Walls - OSU Theatre Department - Jared Standridge - ZT Cigars

Produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc.

Buy the script from Amazon.com

Other web resources:
On-line Picasso Project - featuring a timeline of Picasso's life and work.
Albert Einstein Online - a catalog of Albert Einstein links.
Le Lapin Agile - Details on the real-life Paris bar where the play is set.
Elvis Presley's Graceland - the Official Elvis site.

         


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