Steve Martin's witty 1993 comedy "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" will be staged at North Central College April 15-17. Senior musical theatre major Wesley Dean Tucker of Mason City, Ill., will direct the play, which he says is an entertaining, "in-your-face comedy."
The production will be presented Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 15-17, at 7:30 p.m. in North Central's Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St., Naperville. Tickets are $5/adults and $3/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit www.northcentralcollege.edu/show.
Set in 1904 in a Paris bar called Le Lapin Agile, the story is about a fictional meeting between Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso and a revered rock and roll superstar. The bar, which Picasso actually frequented and even painted, is a hangout for artists, writers and eccentrics who are giving direction to the new century's avant-garde. The 25-year-old physicist Einstein is waiting for a woman friend, but in the course of events he also meets the future in the form of Picasso at age 23.
Each is on the verge of his breakthrough work. But on this night, they're bursting with youthful zeal and egotism as they debate and challenge each other. Each is sure he holds the key to the 20th century's greatest idea, but instead of highbrow lecturing, the scene plays out like two gunslingers in a Wild West saloon. They circle each other, pencils at the ready, shout "draw" and begin scribbling.
Tucker says the play offers intellectual conversation that all actors, artists and academics can connect with, while it also entertains. Using the script as his main inspiration, he says, "I've decided to direct it organically, letting the script and the characters do the work. The genius is there, it will come." The show, he notes, is performed on a thrust stage. "My goal is to make this play a perfect portrait from all angles. I want every patron to have a perfect view," he says.
This production is part of North Central's Student Director Series. The College's theatre faculty invite students to submit a proposal to direct their own theatrical productions and the best are selected. Tucker's proposal was one of four chosen for this year's series.
The cast for "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" include:
Cast part: Student name, year, hometown and major
Picasso: Erik Eiseman, a sophomore from Freeport, majoring in instrumental music education
Einstein: Mike Kintz, a sophomore from Bolingbrook, majoring in performance theatre
Visitor: Brad Morrison, a freshman from St. Charles, majoring in choral music education
Suzanne: Kati Riess, a sophomore from Belleville, majoring in performance theatre and graphic art/interactive media
Freddy: Eric Quinn, a senior from Naperville, majoring in speech communication
Gaston: Christopher Smith, a senior from Oak Lawn, majoring in organizational communication
Germaine: Madeline Hintz, a freshman from Baraboo, Wis., majoring in musical theatre
Sagot: Kevin Williams, a freshman from Nashville, Tenn., majoring in musical theatre
Schmendiman: Steve Oliveri, a senior from Crystal Lake, majoring in convergent interactive media
Countess: Phoebe Esguerra, a freshman from Bolingbrook, majoring in biochemistry
Female Admirer: Kristen Dunlap-Berg, a senior from Nashville, Tenn., majoring in performance theatre
The stage manager is Erin McIntyre, a senior from Bolingbrook, majoring in technical theatre.
North Central College offers majors in theatre performance, technical theatre or musical theater and minors in theatre or dance. A full range of acting and dance classes is available, as well as opportunities to direct a full-length production. Students of all majors can participate in musical and non-musical performances, actor showcases and one-act plays and performances in the College's four theatre venues. Full-time professors and active professionals who are artist-teachers serve as faculty. For more information about North Central College's theatre programs visit www.northcentralcollege.edu/academics/dept-div-progs/theater/program-and....