One of the Worst Fucking Edit Jobs on my Articles Ever

So, Steve Martin wrote a play.

Yes, THE Steve Martin. And, it’s hilarious.

It is the imagined meeting of Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, each in their early twenties, who happen into the same bar in Paris in 1904.

Thus: “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.”

The two battle over the “superiority” of Art v. Science, then ultimately conclude that the ideas are very much the same and become fast friends.

The barflies stare in awe at what they’ve seen. But there has to be a triptych, with a final point to the triangle. If these two men are going to change the 20th century, who is the third?

And then the punchline walks out of the bathroom.

Full disclosure, I performed in the Aux Dog’s production of this play four years ago. This, of course, doesn’t mean that every production has to be the same. That is the joy of theatre. It is the differences and chances to make bold decisions. And there really is no such thing as a “definitive” version.

“Picasso at the Lapin Agile” is fantastic, clever, insightful script, with of both the best of both high and lowbrow humor. Anyone who hasn’t seen it performed should definitely go give it watch.

As the Vortex’s flagship production in their brand new performance space, it has quite the burden of expectation. While the play overall is a grand time and enjoyable experience, there is certainly some roughness around the edges that does not sink the performance, but speaks to missed opportunities.

What best describes these faults are a lack of “attention to detail.”

This is not because jokes always have to be delivered the same way in order to be funny. But the play suffers if so much is ignored.

At the most basic level, the pacing of the Vortex’s production drags. Energy is low and the play is slow because of it. The script is short and full of snappy quips. The bar hardly seems “alive” most of the time. Far too often, the actors are just dutifully repeating one line after another, and then sitting and waiting for their next.

They don’t have to drag focus. But silent moments like those across the bar between Picasso (played by H. Grey Blanco) and Suzanne, the sexy young conquest of Picasso’s desires (played by Evening Star Barron), are few and far between.

Some performances are through the roof, blasted to orbit, and happily chucking jokes down at us from space. Mario Cabrera, Micah McCoy, and Paul Hunton each come rocketing onstage, instilling the play with sudden fun, energy, and invention.

Since there is such a significant dissidence between these performances and others, it leads me to believe there was a light touch from director Martin Andrews.

Actors like Cabrera, McCoy, and Hunton clearly have strong comedic instincts. But if other actors are struggling with what to do, it is the director’s job to notice and address these issues.

Leigh-Ann Santillanes is a fine actor, demonstrated by her artful handling of her monologue about “men like you.” But for most the play, she is completely unengaged from Freddy, her husband, (well-played by the nutty Nathan Chavez) as well as most of what goes in the play.

There is plenty to be explored about these characters who are not towering figures of humanity history, and it is unfortunate that they seem to be neglected.

Likewise, Jeremy Gwin plays the heady Albert Einstein though spends much of his extensive time onstage staring off and looking bored.

These issues are much like the set itself– it is wide, echoy, busy with nicknacks and crap. It hardly looks like a bar. Why are there pink legs onstage? Well, why the hell not!

Mostly, it feels excessive and like no one bothered to stop and question it. If there is such a kitschy feel to this bar, I want to know why. And I want people to interact with the many objects scattered across the set.

The costumes are another odd example of this. Nearly every costume pops with lavish love given to fine dresses and dapper suits– every costume except Picasso’s, who looks like a cheap cartoon from a racist age of animation.

It is possible to criticism a piece of media and still enjoy it. If you see “Picasso at the Lapin Agile”, you, too, will enjoy it. It is stagnant and a little slow, but delightful and clever.

We could all be so lucky.

 

picasso_med

 

http://www.dailylobo.com/article/2014/09/graham-play-review

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Picasso at the Lapin Agile

by Steve Martin
Directed by Martin Andrews
The Vortex Theatre
(New location)
2900 Carlisle NE

Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 pm, Sundays, 2:00 pm
Runs through September 28
$22 General Admission
$15 Students with valid ID
For More Information call (505) 247-8600 or visit http://www.vortexabq.org

 

 

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