Written by Steve Martin
Welcome to Paris, 1904! Into a small bistro called the Lapin Agile walks Albert Einstein--on the brink of transforming physics with his theory of relativity--and Pablo Picasso--just before he sets the world afire with cubism. Writer Steve Martin (the actor, comedien, and Wacoan!) plays fast and loose with fact, fame, and fortune as these two great minds muse on the achievements of the century to come. The absurdity gets even more fun with the arrival of a very unexpected visitor!
"A very engaging 75-minute shaggy dog of a comedy!"
April 22-26 at 7:30 p.m.
April 27 at 2 p.m.
A thesis production in partial fulfillment of the M.F.A. degree in directing.
|Female Admirer||Natalie Baker|
Baylor's ‘Picasso' clever, smart in its time and space
By Carl Hoover, Waco Tribune-Herald
April 24, 2008
Baylor Theatre's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" shows a smart use of time and space - appropriate, since the Steve Martin comedy imagines what would happen if two of the great minds of the 20th century, physicist Albert Einstein and artist Pablo Picasso, had met in a Parisian bar (the Lapin Agile) on the brink of their discoveries that transformed how we look at the universe and art.
As you'd expect from a comedy of ideas written by a stand-up comedian, Picasso's humor lies in its verbal wit, character interplay and periodic surrealism. Timing is crucial for that to work and director Beki Baker's cast operates like clockwork in a Newtonian universe.
The play's set among the Lapin Agile's bar and several tables, but the action is smartly spread throughout so a largely talky comedy doesn't seem static - a good use of space.
Martin's characters are largely painted in broad strokes - no cubist interpretations here - and the Baylor cast does well with what they're given: a sometimes fussy, always thinking Einstein (Joey Melcher); a macho, self-centered Picasso (Jeff Wisnoski); grounded, clear-eyed bar owner's wife Germaine (nicely played by Louise McCartney); her matter-of-fact husband Freddy (Michael Summers); a manic, fast-talking inventor Schmendiman (a scene-stealing Zach Krohn); gently crabby, elderly and small-bladdered bar fixture Gaston (Clay Wheeler); passionate, yet shrewd art buyer Sagot (Sam Hough); hopeful Picasso lover Suzanne (Lindsey Christian); and a charismatic surprise "visitor" (Justin Locklear).
‘Picasso' shows Martin's cerebral and racy sides. You don't have to hold a graduate degree to appreciate fully his jokes, but being well-read and -rounded doesn't hurt with quips about Matisse, Picasso's blue period, Einstein's disregard with time and space in setting up dates and the occasional surreal insertion of American rhythm-and-blues and pop culture. Martin's characters' commentary on sexual encounters, relationship between the sexes and the occasional ribald joke makes this more of a play for young and old adults as well.
Smart, funny and nicely-executed, Baylor's "Picasso" offers comedy for the mind in an age dominated by comedy about the body. There are three performances left: 7:30 tonight and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Baylor's Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center; call 710-1865 about tickets.