The worlds of art and science collide when Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso run into each other in a bar in Paris in Steve Martin’s Picasso At The Lapin Agile
What would happen if Pablo Picasso were to run into Albert Einstein in a bar? A big bang of ideas, one would suppose. Steve Martin builds on this possibility in his insightful and humorous Picasso At The Lapin Agile. What makes the play even more interesting is that the scientist and artist meet not at their prime, but at the threshold of discovering the genius in them.
Theatre personality Prashanth Nair has assisted Vaisakh Shankar in directing Picasso At The Lapin Agile, which will be staged this weekend. Prashanth says, over phone, that the play appealed for its multi-layered plot. “The playwright hasn’t gone into the intricacies of art and science, his interest is in the characters.”
“The play is set in 1904, addresses many other issues and of things to come. For example, there is a scene in which a waitress, who is independent and states her views, predicts that there will come a time when there will be a craze for automobiles and information will be stored within a small space. The men don’t pay attention to what she says, dismissing her views as far-fetched.”
Further, although the play revolves around Picasso and Einstein discussing their innovative theories, the special theory of relativity and Le Demoiselles D’Avignon, respectively, it also explores the nitty gritty of society. Prashanth adds: “Steve has an interest in the characters. He has made a play on stereotypes; on Picasso being a womaniser and even on the French being loud and particular about their language.” But when it comes to Einstein, Steve provides a true perspective on him, very different from the one we usually associate with him. “Einstein was not eccentric and odd. He was quite a ladies man who wrote some of the nicest quotes on love!” The rivalry between Picasso and Matisse has also been depicted.
For those who think that art and science can never meet, the play addresses how they can and must. “Artists and scientists are involved in the task of creation. The Universe itself is a scientific mystery and a beautiful work of art,” says Prashanth, an award-winning playwright.
Prashanth says they have given equal importance to production values as they have to performances. “The play transports the audience to a particular era. We had to pay attention to costumes, music, sets etc. If we hadn’t, we would being doing an injustice to the play.”
The team at Tahatto also researched Lapin Agile, where the scenes unfold, besides other aspects of the play. “It is a bar where people meet up and discuss ideas, which gives it a fascinating energy. We have recreated the feel of the bar the best we could.”
Picasso At The Lapin Agile will be staged today at 8 p.m. and tomorrow at 3 and 6.30 p.m. at Jagriti Theatre, Whitefield. Tickets are available at the venue. For details call: 9901464996.