Quote of the Day: “I see it as an empty frame with something hideous in it waiting to be filled up with something new.” This is a moment that shows the motivation behind Picasso’s life as a young artist. Take the ugly sheep landscape painting, and paint over it with something beautiful, or what he felt was beautiful. Justin Cervantes, the actor playing Picasso, quoting one of his favorite lines and what it means to him.
It was so fun watching someone I know performing in the Chameleon Theatre Circle‘s production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile, a play by Steve Martin, at the Gremlin Theatre in St. Paul, MN. The Gremlin is housed in the same building as Lake Monster Brewery. They have a food truck conveniently parked outside, where we grabbed a snack of chili and cornbread to enjoy with a local brew while waiting for the show to start. (You are allowed to bring your drink into the theater if you like. I tried the Monster Smash, which was surprisingly delicious.)
Fans of Steve Martin know all about his diverse talents, his brilliance as an actor and stand-up comic. Do you also know that he’s a great writer and musician? He brings much of this together in his smart and witty script Picasso at the Lapin Agile. I chatted with Justin (Picasso) a bit after the show. He said that Steve Martin did a rewrite of the script in the summer of 2017, and they are preforming this revised script. I attended the show with someone who performed the part of Picasso several years ago, and he noticed some changes. I didn’t remember much about the production I saw then, just that I laughed, found the connections entertaining, and some of the messages behind the subtext to be good commentary on life, creativity, art, and inspiration.
That’s all still there. Plus, this production has a wonderful cast. Their characters are distinct, funny, engaging, and entertaining. The dialogue zips right along, and they have a fun and relaxed interaction with each other. It would be fun to go back and watch the show again to catch more of the humor and subtle nuance of the script. The director Daniel K. McDermott did an excellent job of making the characters distinct and showing their connection to each other.
The premise is the improbable meeting of Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a small pub somewhere in France in 1904. They are both at the cusp of their careers and are yet to be discovered for their brilliance. Einstein is working some mundane job, but writing his Theory of Relativity on the side. Picasso is at the end of his “Blue Period” (loved Justin’s costume with the blue paint) and at the moment of expressing color and emotion in a new and beautiful way.
The women in the show are not just decoration. They are secondary characters, but have their own moments. I especially liked Germaine’s character who comes out from behind the bar to tell us that she is her own person. She knows what she wants and will go after it. She also has a few words to say about men and how they treat women.
And, because it’s Steve Martin, you have a few quirky moments and strange characters, and an Elvis sighting. (He’s dead, but time traveling, don’t overthink this part.) The show is fun, sexy, thoughtful, quirky, implausible, and a great way to spend about 80 minutes of your time. It’s basically a long one-act with no intermission. Plus, you can drink a beer while watching it, and support a great theater company while doing it.
Thank you to Executive Producer Megan West for inviting me to the show. The entire cast and crew did an excellent job!
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: What famous person or character would you like to have a drink with?