Students stage Steve Martin comedy

Picasso character pointing pencil at the chest of Einstein character
Daniel Jackson, right, cast as Picasso, challenges Juan España, who portrays Einstein, in the Finger Lakes Community College production of Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.”

Picasso and Einstein walk into a bar …

This classic setup is the basis for comedian Steve Martin’s play “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” which Finger Lakes Community College students will stage on Nov. 15 and 16 at the main campus in Canandaigua.

This long-running off-Broadway absurdist comedy is set at a bar in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris in 1904, a year before Einstein publishes his theory of relativity and Picasso transitions into cubism. Einstein and Picasso have a lengthy discussion about genius and inspiration at the bar, which is named the Lapin Agile, French for nimble rabbit.

Performances will be held in the Student Center Auditorium, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 16 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. General admission is $8; entry for students and seniors is $5. This show is recommended for mature audiences.

Headshot of Juan España
Juan España

Student Juan España II of Penn Yan, cast in the part of Einstein, said he particularly enjoys the moment when the two characters, who begin by squabbling, discover their kinship.

“Einstein doesn’t see art as smart, and Picasso doesn’t see science as beautiful,” he said. “They are both geniuses, but of two different kinds, and they have this moment of recognition.”

“The play is asking if there is a difference between genius and talent,” added Daniel Jackson, of Naples, who plays Picasso.

España said learning to research characters in his acting classes helped him with the conundrum of playing a historical figure at a point in his life when we was still an obscure patent office worker.

Theatre productions are great opportunities for students to apply what they have learned in class. The college’s strategic plan emphasizes the importance of applied learning, particularly as a way to experience FLCC values.

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