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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Not To Forget

As an actor and director, Steve Martin has made some silly films. We almost forgot that the man is also an admirable playwright. Proof is his play Picasso at the Lapin Agile which I saw in 1995 in a West Side Theatre in New York. The what-if premise of that masterwork is that on one evening in Paris in 1904, the young Albert Einstein and the young Pablo Picasso turned up at the same bar — Le Lapin Agile in Montmartre — and absurdist high-jinks ensued. Lapin Agile (it means “nimble rabbit”) is short on plot, but it sets a tantalizing mood. For those of us who greeted the new millennium with a countdown to the planet’s ruin, it’s awfully pleasant to spend time with characters at the dawn of a new century who are optimistic, even entranced by the future’s grand possibilities. That doesn’t mean the subject won’t be treated irreverently. At one point, Germaine, the bartender’s lover, spouts a list of amazing things she foresees for the 20th century, concluding with the prediction: “And by the end of the century, smoking in restaurants will be banned.”

2 comments:

  1. That's a real funny jab at the evolution of our self-righteousness. Way to go, Steve!

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  2. Steve Martin has written: "Focusing on Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity and Picasso’s master painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, the play attempts to explain, in a light-hearted way, the similarity of the creative process involved in great leaps of imagination in art and science."

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