“Picasso at the Lapin Agile” places creative geniuses in Roble Theater

May 9, 2014, 10:22 a.m.
Courtesy of Sam Girvin.
Courtesy of Sam Girvin.

A thirst-quenching comedy by Steve Martin, “Picasso at the Lapin Agile volleys two geniuses of the 20th century together in a bout of creative genius. Directed by Max Walker-Silverman and presented by the young cast of Stanford Theater Lab, the production shows May 8 – 10 at 8 p.m.

In the heart of Roble Dorm Theater, you find a cozy Parisian cabaret known as the Lapin Agile decorated with an abundance of aged books and paintings. Bartender Freddy (Sebastian Sanchez-Luege ’17) generously offers wine from the well-stocked bar with his charming French accent. Other special items on the Lapin Agile’s menu include the Pû Pû Plateau, the Escar-van-gogh, and a personal favorite, the Douche Baguette. The set itself presents the level of hilarity and mental tickling that soon ensues.

With the entrance of Gaston (Nicholas Pether ’17) and none other than Albert Einstein (Austin Caldwell ’15), we find ourselves situated among men ruled by a desire for artistic intelligence and recognition, especially by the opposite sex. Caldwell’s quasi-German accent and flushed-faced bewilderment never cease to amuse onlookers of the Lapin Agile farce as he flusters through Einstein’s groundbreaking theory of relativity.

Germaine (Cecilia Lang-Ree ’17) and Suzanne (Sarah Jobalia ’17) provide sources of female finesse and persuasion. Both show coy signs of desperation as they seek love in the cabaret through their simple blouses and colorful trumpet-skirts.

The comedy takes a light philosophical look with the entrance of haughty, yet endearing, art collector Sagot (Ouree Lee ’17) and hastens with the second inspired powerhouse Pablo Picasso (Louis McWilliams ’16). McWilliams’s lanky gait and strong accent complete the image of Picasso as a humorous artist and womanizer. Witness a fierce battle between Einstein and Picasso and in the meantime gather a few pick-up lines with the suave Picasso.

Possibly the most interesting character of the night, Charles “Charlene” Dabernow Schmendiman (Emma Walker-Silverman ’17) represents the overly-enthusiastic start-up founder as she injects incredible levels of near-psychotic oomph in scenes of perfect confusion for all. Her outfit complements her desire for sophistication and genius.

The arrival of The Visitor (Kevin Heller ’16) allows for a double take as country-accented Heller dons a leather jacket and blue boots. Presumably Elvis Presley, The Visitor ties together the different forms of inspiration within the fuzzier Picasso and the techier Einstein. The production makes use of fascinating lighting and sound to show the moment of realization in which both Einstein and Picasso agree that the creative act is beautiful in of itself.

A short but highly engaging show, “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” represents not only 20th century genius but also a microcosm of Stanford in which fuzzy and techie battle to take the foreground. Ideas, miracles and filled glasses will pass throughout the Lapin Agile to offer a most entertaining evening.


Contact Sophia Dao at sdao “at” stanford.edu.

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