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Picasso, Cubism, Einstein and relativity all brought together into one play at the Norton Theatre

By Carlie Jones-Hershinow
On February 4, 2013

Picasso and Einstein meet in a bar. It sounds like the start to a witty joke, right?

That is because it is the premise of Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," which director Ken Womble is bringing to Norton Theatre Feb. 7-8 and 12-16 at 7:30 p.m., and Feb. 9-10 and 17 at 2 p.m.

The play is set in Paris circa 1904, the historical setting of Picasso's Cubism revolution and Einstein's theory of relativity.

"(It's) a thinking person's comedy," Womble said, explaining why he chose this play. "(It's) very unique. It has Steve Martin's sense of humor."

The promise of a certain brand of humor was enough for some students to say they will attend a showing.

"I would go see it because it is witty comedy," said Alberto Gonzalez, a freshman pre-nursing major. "Witty comedy is the best."

The play revolves around intellectual topics, but audiences do not need to have a deep understanding of relativity or Picasso's art to enjoy the show.

Martin took complicated concepts, broke them down for the common man and added his own touch of humor.

The University of Washington's "The Daily" described Martin's humor and his creation by saying, "It at first appears to be ridiculous until you realize that it has unraveled something so complex, the process of reduction is brilliant."

That said, Womble explained that if one has a basic understanding of Cubism and relativity going in, it will "enhance the experience."

The characters sit and discuss what life might be like at the beginning of the 20th century, which causes the audience to reflect on its own reality and how the future came to fruition. Looking back on how two geniuses hoped society would evolve posits compelling and relevant questions to modern audiences.

Freshman psychology major Scott Rice said he is looking forward to the play.

"It will be interesting to see how the two interact," Rice said.

Einstein, Picasso and the various characters they meet at the Lapin Agile weave a tale that will be both intellectually stimulating and hilarious.

"It will make you think but in a good way," Womble said.


Tickets are $9 for UNC students. Adult themes run throughout the play, so it is not recommended for children.


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