Posting Date: January 23, 2009
A physicist and a painter walk into a bar
By Gina Gareri-Watkins
The KSU Department of Theatre and Performance Studies will present its first spring production, “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” in the Studio Theater Jan. 27 through Feb. 1.
Directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies Jim Davis, this long-running, off-Broadway play depicts a fictional meeting between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian cafe at the turn of the 20th century. The two geniuses are on the verge of their greatest works, the Theory of Relativity and the Cubist Manifesto, and the ensuing exchange between both men promises to entertain and enlighten theatre fans. Fact, fame and fortune appear in the balance as the future authors clash with each other and with the new century.
As a semester opener, Davis finds the play both funny and intellectually challenging. A fairly new script, the play will serve as an interesting contrast with the rest of the season.
When asked what he truly enjoyed during rehearsals of the production, Davis said, “A number of things appealed to me. I like the mix of realism and theatricality — it's a challenge for the actors. It's a beautifully structured comedy. It's very obvious that it was written by someone with an impeccable sense of comic structure and timing.”
The playwright is comedian and actor Steve Martin, whose play provides a unique opportunity for KSU’s actors. “The cast is a real mix,” Davis observes. “Some of them are veterans who have been in a number of productions, and for some of them, this is their first KSU production. That combination has brought a great deal of energy and creativity to the production. Since many of them are playing historical figures, they've all done a great deal of research. A goal of the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies is to create scholar-artists. The cast for this production exemplifies that.”
“Picasso at the Lapin Agile” is a must-see, according to Davis, “because it's a very smart, very funny, very challenging script featuring tremendously creative performances. It's a meditation on the relationship between art and science and it's a poignant commentary on the cultural evolution of the 20th century.” The script provides an interesting perspective on the previous century with its century of hindsight.
Performances are at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday in the Studio Theatre of the Joe Mack Wilson Building. The production is sold out, but there is a stand-by list an hour before each show.