"Picasso at the Lapin Agile"
By Steve Martin
When that bar is in Paris and the men are Picasso and Einstein the result can be explosive! The comic genius of Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin!) gives us a hilarious play of wit, philosophy, science, romance and alcohol.
These notes are from Villanova Players' production "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" by Steve Martin, featuring Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso meeting at a bar called the Lapin Agile (Frisky Rabbit) in Montmartre, Paris on October 8, 1904.
Both men are on the verge of amazing ideas: Einstein will publish his special theory of relativity in 1905, and Picasso will paint Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in 1907. Creative sparks fly when they meet at the Lapin Agile, surrounded as they are by famous characters, movers, and shakers, they debate:
What is talent and what is genius? The value of genius and talent. Ultimately, perhaps art and science and popular culture aren’t really so different.
The Director of the Villanova Players’ production, Rod Thompson of Kangaroo Point, said that the play was wonderfully zany and unpredictable.
“It takes a satirical look at celebrity and innovation in art and science, technology and politics – no topic is off the menu!”
Playwright Steve Martin’s first reading of the play took place at his home in Beverly Hills, California, with Tom Hanks reading the role of Pablo Picasso and Chris Sarandon reading the role of Albert Einstein.
Its first public presentation was in the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne, before its official opening in Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre.
|Germaine||Mary St Ledger|
|Albert Einstein||Trevor Sammon|
|Pablo Picasso||Andrew Heron|
|Charles Dabernow Schmendimen||Leo Bradley|
|The Countess / A Female Admirer||Robyn Kearney|
|The Messenger||Michael McNish|
|Stage Manager||Donna Thomas|
|Production Liaission||Maria Plumb|
|Lighting and Effects Design||Rod Thompson|
|Technical Operators||Robert Garnham,|
|Front of House Coordinator||Margaret O'Donnell|
|Refreshments and Supper|
|Set Design||Rod Thompson, |
|Set Construction||Rod Thompson,|
Dan St Ledger,
and Leo Bradley
|Publicity||Andrew Heron, |
and Michael McNish
|Programme||Michael McNish |
and Andrew Heron
|Graphic Artist||Michael McNish|
|Photographer||Michael McNish |
and Ian Colley
Three geniuses in the fields of art, science and popular culture. What do they have in common? Brains? Luck? Friends in high places?
This is the question of the century.
Pablo Picasso: 1881-1973. Clearly a genius, and recognised as such from his earliest career. Looking at his early work, the boy can paint! His realistic paintings are brilliant. His non-realistic ones disturbing. Even if he had not gone on to co-found cubism, and finally surpass that movement, his reputation would have been established by the shockingly innovative “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”. His painting “Guernica”, depicting the horrors of the civil war in his native Spain, confirms it beyond question.
Albert Einstein: 1879-1955. Again no arguments. Clear genius. Before Al, the universe was neat and square and tidy. No-one questioned what “simultaneous” meant, and mass and length were fixed and immutable. Ideas like “curved space” were under discussion as nice mathematical concepts, but it was our hero that made the startling observation that the real world is actually “like that” and took Physics into bold new dimensions.
The Messenger: 1935 – 1977(?). Now was he a genius? Best selling solo artist in the history of popular music? Hmmm – not bad. How about, the man who brought “overt, blatant, vulgar, sexual frenzy” to the popular arts? This much is certain: a man does not become catalyst for the cultural revolution that was Rock ‘n’ Roll by being run of the mill.
What all three have in common is that each was a force that accelerated the 20th century. Mathematically speaking, it was the resolved part of these individual forces that gave the twentieth century its trajectory.
So what will the 21st century bring? The age of wars against drugs and terrorism? The age of Global Financial Crises? The age of regret? I hope not. Couldn’t we try for The Age of Genius?
Rod Thompson – May 2012 in the second decade of the 21st Century
"I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them" - Pablo Picasso
"A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be." - Albert Einstein
"A day without sunshine is like, you know, night." - Steve Martin
"Every act of creation is first an act of destruction." - Pablo Picasso
"What is comedy? Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke." - Steve Martin
"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." - Pablo Picasso
"Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves." - Albert Einstein