San Diego, CA---In one of my favorite movies “Midnight in Paris”, a young screenwriter gets lost in Paris after a night of partying. At midnight, at a designated spot, an antique car stops in front of him filled with historical characters. The all go back in time to the to the 1920’s where our screenwriter meets Jean Cocteau, Cole Porter, Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso to name a few. In this environment, he listens in on conversations, meets significant others and is privy to much of their private lives.
If you had your druthers, would you want to meet, say Pablo Picasso and see what makes him tick, what he likes to eat, what motivates him?
Wonder no more. In an engrossing, passionate and magical (80 minutes) “A Weekend with Pablo Picasso”, now playing at the Lyceum Theatre in Horton Plaza through Oct. 6th, we learn all the above and more.
Herbert Siguenza takes on the role of Picasso where he will tell you in chapter and verse about the man himself as he channels Picasso’s every move, mannerism, mood, philosophy, chuckle and thought. He dances, clowns, speaks several languages and gets dead serious about politics, past and present.
An accomplished artist in his own right, Siguenza will paint a few portraits on stage; some still life and embellish some already finished products. He will tell you about the women in his life, (“When I kiss a woman, I leave my eyes open. I want to see everything”) his politics (with passion) and what a great person he is. Well? “I do not wish my celebrity on anyone…not even my worst enemies”…”The whole world demands from me”.
He’s seventy-six at the time of this telling in 1957. “Time is a bandit. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Like a taxi meter. No argument. The older I get, the stronger the wind gets-and it’s always in my face. I’m afraid I have less and less time yet more and more to say”.
“A Weekend with Pablo Picasso” was work shopped at the San Diego Rep. back in 2010 as work in progress. Siguenza, a founding member of the performance group Culture Clash, wrote the piece, which includes quotes from Picasso’s writings. Siguenza has taken his piece and performed in Denver, San Francisco, Houston, and Los Angeles and now it’s back home with associate artistic director Todd Salovey at the helm more polished than ever. Salovey has been with the show from the beginning. Hats off.
As the story unfolds, the infamous Picasso is completing a commission for six paintings and three vases for an important patron. The play takes place over a three-day weekend in his studio in the South of France where he is working feverishly to complete his commission. Speaking directly to the audience, as the performance opens, he agrees to let us in on his work habits only of we promise to leave at the end of the weekend.
Visuals of a painter at work are everywhere; a pencil drawing of a young Picasso, a photo of Picasso with his wife Dora Maar, cubist paintings, African art, a photo of Picasso working on Guernica, (Giulio Perrone scenic/with recreated styles and clothing that Picasso actually wore in famous photographs by Douglas Duncan 1957/59 that some might call casual elegance.). His studio is visual wonder packed with wooden packing crates, books, photos, food, clothing, easels, engravings with hand scrawled messages and reminders about.
In one of the more truth is stranger than fiction stories he recalled that when he lived in Vauvenargues, a woman was strolling along and spotted him sketching at a sidewalk café. “The woman asked if I could sketch her, and charge accordingly. I obliged. In just ten minutes, I drew her. There it was: an original Picasso. “Oh, how much do I owe you?” she asked. “Five thousand francs, madam’. But it only took you three minutes,” “No!” I said, “It took me –all-my- life.”
“A Weekend with Picasso” is the work of a lifetime; one that Siguenza has been preparing for a lifetime. He is simply a standout.
With Bruno Louchouarn’s impressive sound design, Ross Glanc’s lighting design and Victoria Petrovich’s standout projections of war footage among other things, this completed solo piece is a must see.
See you at the theatre.
Dates: Extended through Oct. 13th
Organization: San Diego Repertory Theatre
Production Type: Solo Performance
Where: 79 Horton Plaza, Downtown San Diego, 92101
Ticket Prices: $31.00-$62.00
Venue: Lyceum Space