Picasso Himself- Joe Hill

October 9, 2015- Picasso at the Lapine Agile had a successful run featuring their cast comprised of NDNU undergraduate actors who were joined by NDNU alumnus Johnny Vilar and visiting Artist George Metroplus. Cynthia Delgado was the Production Stage Manager.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile is written by the iconic comedian/actor/screenwriter/banjo-aficionado Steve Martin. Set in a Parisian bar at the beginning of the 20th century (1904 to be more precise), the play imagines a comical encounter between Pablo Picasso (Joe Hill) and Albert Einstein (Jay Sharma), both of whom are in their early twenties and fully aware of their amazing potential. In addition to the two historical figures, the play is also populated with an amusing barfly, Gaston (George Metropolis), a gullible yet lovable bartender Freddy (Juan Pasqual), a wise waitress Germaine (Linsey Almassey), along with a few surprises that trounce in and out of the Lapin Agile.

The play takes place in one non-stop scene, lasting approximately 80 to 90 minutes. There isn’t much plot or conflict; however, there is a satisfying combination of whimsical nonsense and philosophic conversation. This reporter got an inside look on the play as well as the main character Picasso itself with its lead star: Joe Hill.

Reporter Jasmine Ben-Rached sat down with Joe Hill, not in a fancy dressing room- but the second place he spends the majority of his time in (due to his 21 unit academic workload), his dorm room. To ask a few questions that compares and contrasts the star to his character Picasso. How is Picasso like you and how is he different? “He’s [Picasso] a womanizer, he’s an egomaniac, an anarchist, at this point of his life, eventually he becomes a communist- not like me at all *chuckles* We are both artists, and we are both anti-social.”

Hill talked about the challenges that ensued in taking on the Picasso role, he addressed what he loved and hated about Picasso- “I love all of Picasso’s flaws, they make for such a good character.” As well as the biggest challenge in taking on this role- “Being the womanizer, having the suave confidence in everything that he does, because I’m always second guessing myself.”

The conversation went back to inciting tid bits about the play itself- Hill told this reporter without giving anything away, what his favorite line of Picasso was. “I am taking that small part of us that cannot be understood by God and letting it bleed from my wrist onto the canvas….”

If Hill was to play any other charter in the show “I would play Freddy, because in my opinion Freddy has the funniest lines in the show.” Then we concluded our interview with his opinion on why this play just works- “That’s a tough question, this play works because this is a great ensemble play- everybody is so great.”

Picasso at the Lapine Agile won the 1996 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off Broadway Play. It is staged in the 100 seat NDNU Theatre Studio Theater that brings Steve Martin’s comedy in an “up close and personal” way. The play ended its successful run on Oct 18th.




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