Wednesday, May 6, 2015

theatre review - A WEEKEND WITH PABLO PICASSO - Arizona Theatre Company - May 2, 2015

Herbert Siguenza
Photo: Darren Scott / Arizona Theatre Company
"... A Weekend with Pablo Picasso...While the play itself is a disjointed affair, the larger than life persona that Siguenza brings to the famous artist is a joy to experience....Over the course of the 90-minute play, Siguenza's Picasso teaches us about art, life and love, we watch him create and we learn a little about the man himself....While the majority of the "lessons" we are given are about art, Siguenza also weaves into the play details about Picasso's life. We get snippets about the influence that politics had on both him and his paintings, how a vow he made with God when his sister was dying could have stopped him from painting all together, and how the many women he loved in his lifetime took a toll on him as well. While Siguenza interweaves these details effectively into the piece, they don't have much of a payoff and seem to exist to just check off a list of facts that he wants us to know about the artist. ...comments only scratch the surface of these serious subjects, with no additional information stated before moving on to the next item on the list. It is because of this lax structure and focus that, while we feel like we have spent a weekend with Picasso, we never clearly understand who the man is beyond seeing his playfulness and his attention to his craft....what helps A Weekend with Pablo Picasso become an interesting theatrical piece is that Siguenza paints several pieces throughout the play. While some are only brief sketches, the speed at which he paints, the joy of seeing the art of creation unfold on stage, and the sheer exuberance Siguenza has in playing Picasso, help to bring the play to life.Victoria Petrovich has created a stream of interesting projections, including pieces of artwork, newsreel footage, photographs, and even a letter that help to make Picasso's larger than life personality explode across the stage....Picasso's belief that you paint what you feel and not what you see is at the center of A Weekend with Pablo Picasso. Unfortunately, we don't quite feel much from the play since Siguenza only scratches the surface of Picasso's life. While the play is considerably disjointed and wanders all over the place, Siguenza's lively take on Picasso, how he demonstrates how the artist lived life to its fullest, and his ability to create art in front of our eyes helps offset some of the play's shortcomings and brings Picasso's statement that "life and possibilities are everywhere" vibrantly to life." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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