February 14, 2012
(Photo by Tony Firriolo)
Picasso at the Lapin Agile is a most fitting comedy for a liberal arts college. Written by legendary actor, comedian, musician, and playwright/author Steve Martin, the modern and nostalgic play ponders with sidesplitting humor many of the important questions of the 20th century as well as the significance of intersecting ideas. Under the seasoned direction of Broadway veteran John Christopher Jones, the talented cast succeeds in capturing Martin’s poignancy and biting wit.
Jones, a Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Artist, drew on his experience from appearing in the original Broadway production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile to give his cast of student actors insight into their roles. “Working with such a gifted director and amazing artists made the whole experience magical,” said Tuquan Smith ’13, who had his Rollins theatre debut as the hilarious Gaston. “Chris (Jones) always had a joke, monologue, or story to tell us that would help us get into character and understand the comic timing.”
Shayla Alamino ’12 exhibited unrivaled comic and dramatic maturity in her role of Germaine. During a sudden, momentary power outage on the Friday, February 10, opening night performance, Alamino saved and stole the show with an impeccably timed adlib, replacing the tense silence with total hilarity. Other standouts include Brian Hatch ’12 as the outlandish creative Picasso and his love interest played by Chelsea Swearingen ’12, both displaying refined depth of theatrical skill.
The clever dialogue and surreal action of the play develops from the chance meeting of Picasso and Einstein in an early 1900s French bar. As Einstein, played by Taylor Sorrel ’14, and Picasso find conflicting commonality in their genius, they, along with the other bar patrons, make satiric commentary on the roles of science, artistry, and society in the 20th century.
A similar meeting of minds occurred as part of an audience talkback following the matinée performance on Sunday, February 12, which brought together members of the Rollins faculty to discuss the various themes throughout the play. Professor of Theatre David Charles, Professor of Music Susan Cohn Lackman, Assistant Professor of Physics Christopher Fuse, and Assistant Professor of Art Joshua Almond each shared their perspective on the production and how it relates to both a liberal arts education and their areas of expertise.
“Steve Martin is a true liberal artist,” commented Lackman during the talkback. “His Picasso at the Lapin Agile addresses the great topics and questions of the time and illuminates them by bringing them all together at the same time.”
This entertaining and thought-provoking production runs through February 18. For show times, tickets, or more information, please visit the Annie Russell Theater website or call the box office at 407-646-2145.
By Justin Braun
Office of Marketing & Communications
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