Steve Martin’s comedy "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" featured at CSUB

October 27, 2008
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720,

Three men walk into a bar: Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein and Elvis Presley. Imagine the possibilities.

"Picasso at the Lapin Agile," the long running off-Broadway absurdist comedy, written by actor Steve Martin, is making it's way to California State University, Bakersfield's Doré Theatre stage Nov. 6 – 9.

The play features the characters Einstein and Picasso, who meet at a Paris bar, called the Lapin Agile, or Nimble Rabbit. It is set on October 8, 1904, and both men are on the verge of an amazing idea; Einstein will publish his special theory of relativity in 1905 and Picasso will paint "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" in 1907. They find themselves at the bar where they have a lengthy debate about the value of genius and talent while interacting with a host of other characters including Presley.

"It's a very entertaining and insightful conversation about the nexus between art and science," said Zoe Saba, play director. "It explores the process of creative thought, whether you're a physicist working on an equation or an artist responding to an inspiration, there is a common creative spark. Each way of looking at the world has its own particular riches to bring to the table. Both art and science have gifts of wisdom to offer the world."

The 90-minute production is promising both heart and humor. "In these uncertain times, why not gather together in a dark room and hear a great story told?" Saba added. "A story that is at once a nice diversion from the real world and an affirmation of all that is human in the real world. And there is something for everyone. Plenty of the sort of humor that you would expect from Steve Martin plus a lot of sharp, insightful humor that will appeal to those audience members who have some knowledge of art and physics."

Twenty-two year old student actor Danvir Grewal is perfecting his version of Picasso. "He is widely known as one of greatest artists of the 20th century, having helped co-found the cubist movement and creating such influential work as the painting "Guernica" for example. I prepared for this role by using the techniques I learned at CSU Summer Arts this past summer at Fresno State. One of the techniques is known as viewpoints. Viewpoints consists of nine things that all actors should be aware of around them when on stage including architecture, spatial relationship, tempo, gestures, repetition and shape."

Those are things Grewal will need to be fully aware of considering the set unique design. "Chris Eicher (the set designer) and I talked about the idea of the bar existing both in reality and in the void of anywhere – a reflection of the idea that this conversation could be happening anywhere, in any place or time where smart, funny, introspective people gather, have a drink and share ideas – ideas that might affect the future," Saba detailed. "Audiences can look forward to some pretty entertaining special effects as well."

"Picasso at the Lapin Agile" opens in the Doré Theatre at the CSUB campus on Thursday, Nov. 6 for a four-performance run. The curtain will rise at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 6 – 8, with one matinee performance Nov. 9 at 2 p.m.

Cost is $10 general admission, $8 for faculty, staff and senior citizens and $5 for students with identification. For additional information, contact Saba at (661) 654-2542. For box office information, call (661) 654-3150.