Contact: David Booth / Elisabeth DeWispelaere, NIU School of Theatre and Dance
DeKalb — The next production of the Northern Illinois University School of Theatre and Dance 2008-2009 mainstage season presents comedian, actor, and playwright Steve Martin’s answer to the common, first date question, “What famous person from the past would you like to meet?”
In his play, “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” Martin imagines a meeting between two such historical figures, Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso.
Opening Thursday, March 26 in the Players Theatre, Martin’s play is set in 1904 and the then-unknowns Picasso and Einstein meet at a small bar called the Lapin Agile in Paris, France, where artists and working class people go to mingle and discuss women, art and the possibilities of a new 20th century.
However, according to Chicago-based guest director of the production, Ann Filmer, there is no historical record that such a meeting took place or that the two ever actually met.
“Steve Martin pulls from random places in people’s brains, merging the intellectual with the juvenile,” she said. “He takes two things that are unrelated and puts them together. He has a very odd, random sense of humor.”
To further prove her point, Filmer explains that while Picasso and Einstein are at the Lapin Agile, a man from the future joins their conversation. Filmer would not specify who this man is, because she wants it to be a surprise for the audience.
“The audience becomes a part of the play as soon as they enter the theater,” Filmer said. “When they enter through the Lapin Agile to find their seats, they become a part of the bar scene.
“Also, the first row audience members can choose to be seated at tables instead of in the standard chairs to enjoy the performance.”
And, yes, the actors will probably interact “a little” with those seated at the tables.
“Picasso at the Lapin Agile” runs Thursday, March 26, through Sunday, April 5, in the Stevens Building Players Theatre on the DeKalb NIU campus, located behind McDonald’s restaurant on West Lincoln Highway.
Performances are 7:30 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $14 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students with an ID, and can be purchased at the Stevens Building box office, by calling (815) 753-1600 or visiting www.niu.edu/theatre.
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