GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Theatre and Dance will present five performances of Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” starting this week in University Theatre in Theatre Hall on campus. Info: uwgb.edu/theatre or ticketstaronline.com.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. April 22-23 and 28-30.
Actor, comedian, writer, etc. Steve Martin is familiar from the screen in movies and as frequent host of “Saturday Night Live.”
“Picasso at the Lapin Agile” won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off Broadway Play in 1996 and has been performed by theaters across the country, including by UWGB Theatre in 2006.
According to a press release: The setup is what happens when Pablo Picasso meets Albert Einstein in a bar on Oct. 8, 1904?
Both masters are on the verge of the work that will make them world-renowned in their respective fields. In 1905, Einstein will publish his Theory of Relativity, what most people learn in school as E=mc2. And in 1907, Picasso will paint “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon)”. This painting will break the established rules of art, ultimately being revered throughout the art world and hailed as the beginning of cubism and modern art.
While at the Parisian bar, Picasso and Einstein discuss the major cultural influences of the 20th century and argue which of them possesses the greatest talent. Through often hilarious interactions with others in the bar, Picasso and Einstein begin to understand the parallels and interconnectedness of art and science.
The production is directed by UWGB lecturer Alan Kopischke, who won praise last year for his direction of “Twilight, Los Angeles: 1992.”
Kopischke says he “loves the collision of art and science in this play, and that these smart, driven characters bounce off each other like quantum particles emitting photons when they collide – little, singular beams of light that illuminate life and art and our foibles. Or maybe they’re like little pigments, mixing and clashing and contrasting and complementing. This play brims with energy and ideas and has a great mix of witty wordplay and ensemble physical comedy.”
Portraying renowned physicist Albert Einstein is Ty Witthuhn (Seymour). Einstein’s counterpart and the father of modern art, Pablo Picasso is portrayed Mickey Wirtz (Green Bay).
The two are joined on stage by an ensemble of UWGB students and Wisconsin natives portraying an eclectic group of patrons and employees at the Lapin Agile.
Aubrey Stein (Appleton) portrays Suzanne, an admirer of Picasso. Audrey Soberg (Appleton) takes on the role of Sagot, Picasso’s art dealer. The part of Germaine, a waitress at the Lapin Agile, is played by Alexandra Smith (Appleton). Jenny Witt (Appleton) takes on the role of Schmendiman, a young inventor. Blake Larson (Appleton) portrays a time-traveling, talented country boy who adds another dimension to the conversations.
Portraying Gaston, an abrupt, direct and plain-talking Frenchman, is Mason Amidon (Richfield).
The owner and bartender of the Lapin Agile is Freddy who is played by Cory J. O’Donnell (Waukesha).
Autumn Johnson (Hubertus) takes on the roles of the Countess and Admirer. The Countess is an intelligent woman who catches Einstein’s attention, while the Admirer is infatuated with another in the bar.
This absurdist comedy is designed to make the audience laugh and think.
“Picasso at the Lapin Agile” is recommended for mature audiences due to brief sexual references.