PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE – the Fantastic Art of Relativity

by Jack Shaw

Who knew art and science could be so funny? Steve Martin, that’s who. And, Director Marjorie Sokoloff. And, the audience at yesterday’s matinee at Stages’ outstanding production of Steve Martin’s PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE at Camden Community College. I wish I had seen it sooner.

James Collins (Einstein) and Tim Rinehart (Picasso) in STAGES at Camden County College's production of PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE.

From heavy drama of classic theatre–South Camden Theatre Company’s production of SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER to Stage Left’s (Collaborative Stages after this) unusual but satisfying, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW to this intellectual, artistic riot of contemporary theatre, Stages’ PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE, I felt honored and blessed by the theatre gods.

This is PICASSO’s moment. I’ve run out of superlatives. Suffice it to say, I came expecting intellectual banter–a discussion of art and science, but I never expected to be laughing and chuckling the whole time–or to see such action. Performers high on adrenaline kept the audience consistently high with laughter. The actors said at the talk-back after the show that they derived their energy from each other and their wonderful director. I have to agree.

Stages and Director Sokoloff did everything right, starting with selecting the Steve Martin gem, and selecting a cast so good together they didn’t need an audience. As we made our way to our seats we were immediately struck by the creative cut-away set–a Bohemian hang out for artists like Picasso and scientists like Einstein, but that’s enough to “set the stage” for the lively art to follow.

I expected an interesting and witty discussion, but I did not expect the action to fill the stage every moment–even beyond the boundaries of the cut-away set. Every moment worked, every actor in it was outstanding in subtlety or outrageousness–whatever the moment called for. I was in it every moment. So, was the audience.

Steve Martin had a few words to say. “Well, excuuuuse me!” I couldn’t resist. But a few lines did relate to writing you might find interesting. “I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with a blank piece of paper.” I think so, too. And, one final note, “What is comedy?” he asks. “Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke.” Nobody puked. Everyone laughed.

PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE is Steve Martin at his intellectual and artistic best. I don’t have to tell you he is funny, but he makes us laugh here at things you wouldn’t naturally find funny, or even make the connection. I had no idea Picasso and Einstein were related. Just kidding, but Martin’s words, and this cast make you see the relevance of art and the art of relativity, and “smile” out loud while you do it.

Every actor is a standout, the direction flawless, and the writing, well…genius. Understatement is to say it’s worth seeing. Don’t miss it!

Starring: Rick Bravo, Sean Casey, James Collins, Tim Rinehart, Melissa Rittman, Liz Rodriquez, Don Swenson, Matthew Wil and Eli Wood.

The designers and crew had to be great, too, but I’d be reproducing the program at this point.

By Steve Martin
Directed by Marjorie Sokoloff
October 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 at 8pm
October 23 at 3pm
Camden County Community College
311 College Drive
Blackwood, NJ 08012
(856) 227-7200

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