Steve Martin’s comedic genius comes out to play in Picasso at the Lapin Agile at Open Book Theatre in Trenton March 10-25. Fans of the comedian and actor will recognize his smart and ridiculous style in Martin’s first play he wrote for the stage.
The story goes that Martin heard a joke that began, “Picasso and Einstein walk into a bar…” and turned that concept into a joyous 90-minute romp.
The play places Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian cafe in 1904, just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his theory of relativity and the celebrated painter set the art world afire with cubism. Steve Martin plays fast and loose with fact, fame and fortune as these two geniuses muse on the century’s achievements and prospects as well as other fanciful topics with infectious dizziness.
Martin said of the play, “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.”
Opening night tickets include an after party, and are $30 each. Tickets for all other performances are $20, or $15 for students and seniors. Group discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, at a discount of $3 off each ticket.
“We’ve had a lot of groups booking tickets for this show,” said Producing Artistic Director Krista Schafer Ewbank. “We’ve added a matinee performance to be sure to get them all in! It’s a popular show, as well it should be.”
“A lot of people think spending the day in an art museum learning about Pablo Picasso or sitting through a mathematics or physics class talking about Einstein is stuffy and boring,” Topher Alan Payne, the show’s director, said. “Steve Martin proves that theory wrong. I love that he takes these subjects that can be a tad unrelatable and makes them provocative, sexy, and as is expected from Steve Martin, hysterical!”
General seating allows patrons to pick their own seat in the small, intimate space.
“We set up our black box theatre in different configurations for each show,” Ewbank said. “This will be our first time as a thrust, with audience on three sides of the action. No seat is more than three rows from the stage.”
Audience members often compare the space to that of the well known Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea.
“Except it’s much closer to home,” Ewbank joked.
The Open Book production features nine accomplished Metro Detroit professional actors: Melissa Beckwith, Joshua Brown, John DeMerelll, Garett Michael Harris, Dennis Kleinsmith, Allison Megroet, Lindel Salow, Alex Sloan and Nick Yocum.
The show is directed by Topher Alan Payne with lights by Wilde award winning designer Harley Miah. The costumes are designed by local fashion designer Cheryl Zemke, and the set is by Bradly Bryne. Danielle Gilbert is stage managing.
Open Book Theatre is located at 1621 West Road. For more information or tickets, visit www.openbooktc.com or call (734) 288-7753. Tickets also can be purchased in person at Slick Disc, the record store next door to the theatre (at 1625 West Road).
Performance dates and times are as follows: Friday, March 10, 8 p.m. (opening night, all tickets $30), Saturday, March 11, 8 p.m., Sunday, March 12, 2 p.m., Friday and Saturday March 17-18, 8 p.m., Sunday, March 19, 2 p.m. (followed by a discussion with the artists), and Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 23-25 at 8 p.m.