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Picasso at the Lapin Agile

by Steve Martin

This is a play that makes the audience feel smart. We know what happens to these men - Picasso, Einstein, Elvis - and therefore we are smarter than the characters. They are funny and don't even realize it. The play is more than a series of one-liners, however. There are some beautiful, almost poetical moments. Germaine seems to be a no-nonsense woman with a romantic side. She has my favorite line in the show:
His faults I can live with. And occasionally, occasionally, he says something so stunning I'm just glad to have been there.
The character of Sagot is mostly a selfish art dealer who is just looking to make a quick buck. But he has his moments of brilliance as well. He acquires a Matisse painting and explains to the bar crowd:
This is what makes it great. The boundaries. The edge. Otherwise, anything goes. You want to see a soccer game where the players can run up into the stands with the ball and order a beer? No. They've got to stay within the boundaries to make it interesting. In the right hands, this little space is as fertile as Eden.
An interesting comment on art in general, I think. There is freedom within the structure but the structure is there for a reason. It is necessary, if only for the opportunity to break away from that structure.. It's set in place and what you choose to do with it ..or without it, makes a statement.

Sunday Play-a-day: The Love List by Norm Foster

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