CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Lapin Agile is pronounced (approximately) lah-PA(N)
Steve Martin's 'Picasso at the Lapin Agile' runs three weeks at UI
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University Theatres Mainstage will present Steve
Martin's award-winning comedy "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" for
a three-week run, Feb. 4-21 in Theatre B of the University of Iowa Theatre
Building. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Feb. 4-6, 11-13 and 18-20, with
additional 11 p.m. performances Saturday, Feb. 13 and 20, and at 3 p.m.
Sundays, Feb. 14 and 21.
For post-performance refreshments, the Theatre Building lobby will be
transformed into a candle-lit Parisian bistro.
Winner of the 1996 New York Outer Critics' Circle Awards for "Best
Play" and "Best Playwright," Martin's "Picasso at the
Lapin Agile" imagines a fiery young Einstein and a passionate young
Picasso meeting in 1904, at a bohemian bistro in the Montmarte district
of Paris, just before they are destined to emerge as revolutionary figures
in 20th-century physics and visual art.
One year later, Einstein published the "Special Theory of Relativity"
and three years later Picasso painted "Les Demoiselles D'Avignon,"
works that transformed the way that we look at the universe and art. But
on the threshold of those triumphs, these two ambitious "wild and
crazy guys" quaff drinks in the Lapin Agile while vying for the attentions
of a young lady, and for each other's respect, in a fast-paced joust of
ideas about art, probability, lust and the future. Assorted foils and pretenders
at genius wander in, and then Elvis arrives . . .
Director Eric Forsythe, a faculty member in the UI department of theatre
arts, says, "Working on this play has been an absolute delight, from
start to finish. The script is a delight. The cast is a delight. The designers
have been a delight. I just hope everyone enjoys it as much as I have."
Critic William Campbell wrote in The Ink Well Reviews, "Martin's
splendid and hilarious homage to Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso both
exalts and humanizes these two 20th-century greats with a tongue-in-cheek
glorification that brings them accessibly down to earth to dwell among
us mere modern-day mortals for a couple of hours during a fast-paced and
entirely delectable evening at the theater. . . . If there is a formula
for 'Picasso at the Lapin Agile's' success, it is a deceptively simple
one where its entertainment results from the sum of the play's material
multiplied by the square of the comedy, otherwise known as E=mc2."
"Picasso at the Lapin Agile" is a landmark in Martin's self-generated,
middle-age renewal. After sending the world in the convulsions of laughter
with his arrows through the head, his "Saturday Night Live" sketches
and a series of mostly over-the-top screen roles, Martin withdrew from
performing for three years. He re-emerged not only with the "Picasso
at the Lapin Agile," but also with the best-selling essay collection,
"I lost contact with my work," Martin told the Washington
Post. "'Contact with my work' -- that comes from a film on Jackson
Pollock. He was talking about painting and he said, 'I lost contact with
it, and I destroyed it.' The paint drips and drizzles -- that's a good
metaphor for writing. I lost contact with my work. So the next day I wasn't
working. I had some quiet time. I didn't go from job to job. I stopped
for three years."
He calls his new writing "getting back in touch with your creative
heart." Choosing the visual arts world as a source for personal metaphors,
and for re-contact with his "creative heart," is a natural for
Martin. He is one of America's most serious and active collectors of art.
Martin was able to stage his "L.A. Story" roller-skating sequence
in the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art only because the museum staff trusted
his respect for the safety of the priceless art. And it was no surprise
that Martin attended the New York opening of the Jackson Pollock retrospective
exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, which includes Pollock's "Mural"
from the UI Museum of Art.
With a college degree in philosophy and a passion for visual art, Martin
could create a fantasy of a meeting between Einstein and Picasso that is
not a far-fetched sketch gimmick, but an extension of his own interests
and concerns, and with his skills as a comic writer he could prevent the
meeting from bogging down in its serious ideas.
Brad Smith wrote in the Denver Business Journal, " 'Picasso at
the Lapin Agile' has Steve Martin written all over it. . . . Thankfully,
the serious potential never overshadows the comedy. The audience seldom
stops laughing long enough to think."
Other artistic contributors to the University Theatres Mainstage production
of "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" are set designer Carolyn Barrientes,
costume designer Tammy Laisnez and lighting designer David Thayer.
Tickets for "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" are $15 ($7 for UI
students, senior citizens and audience members 17 and younger).
Tickets may be purchased in advance from the Hancher Auditorium box
office. Any remaining tickets for each performance will be on sale one
hour before curtain time at the Theatre Building box office.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa,
dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is
toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged
to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases
to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option
of payroll deduction.
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services
should dial (319) 335-1158. The line is equipped with TDD for people with
hearing impairment who use that technology.
For information on UI arts visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr/
on the World Wide Web.