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Picasso, Einstein and SCT serve up laughs in play by Steve Martin

 

Cast members in Starkville Community Theatre's

Cast members in Starkville Community Theatre's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" rehearse at the Playhouse on Main for the production that opens Thursday. From left are Derrell Staten, Jonette Shurden, Jacob Phillips, Sean McCarthy (Picasso), Petra Banks (kneeling), Brad Robertson (Einstein), Isa Stratton Beaulieu, Christopher Walrath and, in the foreground, Taylor Comer. Photo by: Courtesy photo

 

Jan Swoope

 

 

Imagine Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein together in a bar in Montmartre, Paris, in 1904. Steve Martin did. The actor, comedian, musician, writer and producer took license with history when penning the long-running Off Broadway play "Picasso at the Lapin Agile." Starkville Community Theatre presents the comedy Feb. 8-11 and 13-17 at the Playhouse on Main at 108 E. Main St. in downtown Starkville. Sean Dyess directs. 

 

"Martin imagines a meeting between a young Picasso and a young Einstein and uses it as a comedic springboard to examine concepts as heady as the nature of reality, identify, idealism and legacy -- with no shortage of digressions, barbs and puns to keep the audience laughing while they think," said Gabe Smith, SCT chief administrative officer.  

 

What roles do science and art play in our daily lives? What is genius, and how can it be quantified?  

 

A 25-year-old Einstein, a scientist with big aspirations, and Picasso, a charismatic 23-year-old painter, debate the values of genius and talent while interacting with other characters. An inventor, an old Frenchwoman with prostate problems, an art dealer, a waitress, a countess -- each has a role to play. 

 

"Martin's off-kilter 'what-if' historical farce is fully self-aware, wears its big themes with a light touch and deliberately flouts the conventions of live theater," Smith said. 

 

Characters mention stage directions out loud, as an example, and muse on upcoming plot twists before they occur in the action. Even rules of space and time are suspended: A legendary musician with north Mississippi connections makes a late-breaking appearance, several decades before he was actually born. 

 

 

 

How to go 

 

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. nightly, except Sunday at 2 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 8-11, and Tuesday through Saturday, Feb. 13-17. Tickets are $15; $10 for students. Reserve tickets by calling the SCT box office, 662-323-6855. 

 

For more about SCT, visit sct-online.org.

 

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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