It’s possible that the play “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” by Steve Martin, that wild and crazy guy, is based on the old joke — because in this production, all sorts of people (art dealers, pop stars) walk into the Lapin Agile, and do what most people do as they imbibe: flirt, discuss, attract attention, and come up with theories to advance mankind’s state of being.
The play is about Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, who meet at a bar called the Lapin Agile (the Nimble Rabbit) in Paris. The year is 1904, and in true history, both men are on the verge of their successes: Einstein published his special theory of relativity in 1905, and Picasso pained Les Demoiselles d’Avignon in 1907. Drinking at the Lapin Agile, though, they consort with their love interests and fellow drinkers, and debate about value of genius and talent. Like a good sitcom, special guests make spectacular appearances.
Cheyenne Stanley, who attends Battery Creek High School, has the role of “female admirer” for the character of Shmenidman, an inventor who thinks much of himself. “There’s a lot of humor,” Cheyenne commented, “and it’s definitely different than high school musical productions.”
Heather Denardo, who teaches at the Little Brown School and ARTworks, has the role of Germain, the knowing barmaid at the Lapin Agile. “The play is about the meeting of art and science. The two are not actually different, the way that people think of them. It’s about how prodigies go about their work,” Heather said.
Bob Herrick, a toastmaster and Beaufort resident, plays Sagot, the art dealer. “He’s very outgoing and ridiculous,” Bob explained. His favorite moment for his character is when he’s overcome with passion for a painting, “It’s small but juicy,” he says.
These actors are joined by Matthew Donnelly (Freddy), Dennis H. Wilkins (Gaston), Christine Grefe (Suzanne/Countess), F. Kwame Johnson (A Visitor), Tristan Brew (Einstein), Zach Wells (Picasso), and Chris Petry as Schmendiman.
“Picasso At The Lapin Agile” opens May 31 in the black box theater at ARTworks, and is produced by the Palmetto Theater Xperiment and directed by J.W. Rone. It is a long running Off-Broadway absurdist comedy, Martin’s first for the stage. The popular actor and screenwriter plays fast and loose with fact, fame and fortune as these two geniuses muse on the century’s achievements and prospects as well as other fanciful topics with infectious dizziness.
The play will be one stage May 31 – June 2 at 7:30 p.m.; June 3 at 3 p.m.; June 7-9 at 7:30 p.m.; June 10 at 3 p.m. at ARTworks in Beaufort Town Center, 2127 Boundary Street. Tickets are $17, and $12 each for groups of 10 or more, 843-379-2787 and online at www.ArtWorksInBeaufort.org; Thursdays are “Pay What You Can” ($5 minimum).