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Picasso at the Lapin Agile

a Comedy
by Steve Martin

COMPANY : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. (Decatur) [WEBSITE]
ID# 4111

SHOWING : October 14, 2011 - November 05, 2011



From the strange and humorous mind of Steve Martin... Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso meet up one night at a bar called the Lapin Agile (Nimble Rabbit) in Paris. It is October, 1904, and each man is on the verge of amazing personal accomplishment: Einstein will publish his special theory of relativity in 1905, and Picasso will paint Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in 1907.

On the cusp of major success, Picasso, Einstein, and a Visitor from the future will engage each other and the Parisian regulars of the Lapin Agile in a wildly humorous examination of the value of genius, the source of inspiration, sexual satisfaction, and their hopes for the new 20th Century.

October 14 through November 5, 2011
Friday and Saturday 8pm
Sunday matinee 5pm
Tickets $10-$20

Director Michael Henry Harris
Lighting Design Harley Gould
Sound Design Topher Payne
Set Design Darrell Wofford
Pablo Picasso Adam Bailey
Sagot James Baskin
Gaston Tom Gillespie
Charles Dabernow Schmendiman Aaron Gotlieb
Suzanne/Countess/Admirer Amanda Lee
Albert Einstein Vinnie Mascola
Freddy Charlie Miller
Germaine Abra Thurmond
Visitor Darrell Wofford
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Be Quick Like a Bunny and Go See It!
by playgoer
Saturday, October 15, 2011
"Picasso at the Lapin Agile" is Steve Martin's loopy riff on a fictional meeting between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso at a French café in 1904, the year before publication of Einstein's "Special Theory of Relativity" and creation of Picasso's cubist painting "Les Desmoiselles d'Avignon." Historical accuracy is hardly the point. Comedy is. And plenty of comedy there is!

The set, by Darrell Wofford, doesn't scream "1904 Paris." Its wood paneling and generic paintings suggest a Western saloon, or would if the doors were swinging café doors. Once it's populated by actors in the costume designs of Elizabeth Lanier and wig designs of George Devours, it fits the place and period perfectly. This is a lovely production visually, greatly enhanced by the lighting design of Harley Gould. Watch for some great lighting effects near the end of the one-act show.

It's the acting that carries the show, though. Vinnie Mascola's German-accented Einstein and Adam Bailey's Spanish-accented Picasso are winning and convincing in their roles, but they are hardly the only acting delights in the show. Aaron Gottlieb is breathtakingly energetic in his small role, and Darrell Wofford takes command of the stage in his late entrance. Tom Gillespie is wonderful throughout in his role of café habitué Gaston, and James Baskin brings command and great comic timing to his role as art dealer Sagot. Mandi Lee portrays three different women and does a wonderful job of delineating them. She is particularly effective as Suzanne falling under the spell of Picasso as he recalls their first encounter, her eyes and face melting with each new detail. Charlie Miller and Abra Thurmond, as the proprietors of the café, keep up the pace and energy, but have a certain flatness and rote quality in their voices that keeps them from equalling the rest of the ensemble.

If you have never seen the oft-produced "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," Onstage Atlanta's production of it is a wonderful introduction. Not having seen any previous productions of it myself, I can't compare this production with others. I can't imagine, though, that other productions would be markedly better. This is a breezy, smart, funny play brought to life by a terrific design team and a talented group of actors, four of whom are making their Onstage Atlanta debuts. Go see and have fun! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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