A Picasso

Painting is not done to decorate apartments.
It is an instrument of war…

~ Pablo Picasso

About the Play, A Picasso by Jeffrey Hatcher

Directed by Natalia Lazarus

 

The curtain rises. We are in Paris, 1941. A screen projects black and white images of old Parisian streets on the Left Bank. The rue des Grands-Augustins, Picasso’s studio, and his favorite hangout, Le Catalan Café, come to the forefront. The romance is contrasted by the sound of marching boots and the reality of the German Occupation. The boots invade our set, an underground vault. Lights up! Our hero, Pablo Picasso, is thrown in!

Sex, Art, Politics, Nazis, and a classy 20th century icon are all wrapped up into an intense, confrontational drama with sensitivity and wit. Mademoiselle Fischer, a beautiful, “cultural attaché”, from Berlin has arrested Picasso. She needs him to authenticate three of his pieces, recently “confiscated”, by the Nazis from their Jewish owners, for inclusion in a “degenerate art show”, curated by Joseph Goebbles. Picasso does, whereupon he learns that the works will be destroyed in a bonfire!

Picasso needs to save his art. Mademoiselle Fischer needs a Picasso to save her life. A true face to face ensues, wherein, all is at stake.

a picasso poster
with co-star, Charles Fathy, A Picasso production in Los Angeles

Director’s Note

Jeffrey Hatcher has created an intense, confrontational drama with humor and class. All the emotions from anger, to desperation, to lust, to triumph, are delivered by his pen in a direct, historical, and deliciously flavored syntax.

A formidable pretext to plunge deep, to get past our arrogance and into the truth. The truth of self, desire, childhood fears, and ambition.

Art, History, and Politics are one in the same. They cannot be separated. Picasso’s legacy leaves us with this inspiration, this responsibility, this insatiable desire to continue to create, to express, to find ourselves… 

jeffrey-hatcher-playwright

Read more about the author of A Picasso.

Playwright/Screenwriter, Jeffrey Hatcher

My History with the Play, A Picasso by Jeffrey Hatcher

by Natalia Lazarus

It has been an honor to perform this play in all its stages. We first gave birth to it in 2013 when the British Company, What Larks: the Only Speaking Company in Provence, invited us for a run in the South of France. We performed in Bonnieux, Carpintras, and Avignon, on the Mediterranean coast that Picasso so much adored.

Pablo Picasso was played by my adored colleague, Vincent Lappas, a magnificent Greek-American actor, with whom I also did the first Los Angeles run in 2014. That Spring, we began the journey to get it produced in Paris, France – where the events of the play take place. With the help of our patrons and donors we got it produced in French and English at the Theatre de Nesle on the Left Bank of Paris in the Fall of 2015. What an electrifying experience that was! The theatre was literally around the corner from Picasso’s atelier where he painted the renowned masterpiece, Guernica. One critic said the performance was eerie – as if Picasso still haunted the neighborhood…

Enter the “new” Pablo Picasso played by the so very talented French actor, Charles Fathy, who joined me on this journey. French journal, La Parizienne, called us “a pair of possessed actors pitted against each other as enemies, even though we are not and forced to dance an infernal waltz on a crazy merry go round from which we cannot descend”!

We jokingly now call it the show that never dies. In 2017, in association with the Alliance Francaise – Los Angeles – we performed it, yet again in both French and English, for a second LA run.

Now, in the face of all that the world has been through, we prepare for a 2021 performance in what theatre has become: a series of live-streamed shows and taking inspiration from what the great Matthew Warchus has done at the Old Vic Theatre in London. The seven time Tony Award nominee (won once, for God of Carnage) has tried to offset the limited visual possibilities of live streaming by using multiple cameras and Zoom windows to further the storytelling in his 2020 releases.

​And so we hope to do the same with a new and re-invented production of A Picasso.

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