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Steve Martin and the Lapin Agile

Winthrop House stages the comedian’s play on a fictional meeting of minds

By Cara B. Eisenpress, Contributing Writer


Location: Winthrop House Junior Common Room

DATE: May 5-7 at 7 p.m.; May 7-8 at 2 p.m.

Director: Chris N. Hanley ’07

Producer: Sarah J. Hill ’05

“Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” a play by multi-talented actor Steve Martin (“Father of the Bride”), posits a strange, fictional meeting as the set up for its drama: Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein come together in 1904, when both are young and neither is famous.

According to Chris N. Hanley ’07, director of “Picasso,” this rendezvous also includes an undisclosed singer. Presented by the Winthrop House Drama Society, producer Sarah J. Hill ’05, Hanley, and the rest of the crew are residents of Winthrop House; however, the members of the nine-person cast, which includes four actors in their Harvard debuts, hail from all across campus.

Hanley says it was rewarding to work with so many actors new to the stage, and in their two months of rehearsals, Henley’s directorial technique focused on getting his actors to feel comfortable by carefully developing their characters with them.

It is an approach particularly useful for such an inventive work. “Picasso” is a humorous play, but not necessarily an action-filled one; its wit is manifested in its dialogue and precise timing.

“It’s a funny, smart piece,” Hanley says. “It’s got all sorts of humor—everything from slapstick to intellectual… What I really would encourage people to do is watch the whole stage—while some people might be talking, others might be doing something in the corner you might miss. We tried to throw in fun things here and there.”

For Hanley––and for antsy audience members––another perk of “Picasso” is its brief duration. A one-act play, it runs for only one hour and ten minutes. Hanley’s enthusiasm about its length relates to the purpose of Arts First weekend in general.

“We thought Arts First was supposed to be a big celebration of all the arts, to get a taste of everything. With “Picasso,” you can come and get a taste of the theater, but without sitting for the whole two hours,” Hanley said.

Both the attention-challenged fan looking for a bit of comic relief before reading period and the theater fanatic should venture to this cozy production of “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” in for a peculiar and unique mix of art, science, and theater.

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