Theater Review: A WEEKEND WITH PABLO PICASSO (feature-length film adaptation at San Diego Rep)

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by Tony Frankel on September 12, 2020

in Theater-Regional,Virtual

When I first saw Herbert Siguenza’s solo show A Weekend with Pablo Picasso, I knew this tour-de-force triumph would live among the greatest one-person shows I could ever see, including James Whitmore as President Truman in Give ‘em Hell, Harry, Robert Morse as Truman Capote in Tru, and Ann Randolph as the kookiest daughter on record in Loveland.

Now, San Diego REP has created a feature-length film adaptation which will be available for viewing from September 17 through October 14, 2020 at SD Rep. The play has appeared at theaters across the nation since its original 3-week workshop at The REP in 2010.

In A Weekend with Pablo Picasso, we are not voyeurs, but rather an art dealer’s stoolies, who have been sent to Picasso’s home and studio, “Le Californie,” in 1957 to ensure that he finishes works which have been commissioned by a wealthy art patron. Both Picasso, whom we meet in a bathtub with his rubber ducky, make us feel right at home in the south of France. You can practically smell the fresh bread that is delivered to the studio by a baker who requests payment by check; it is one of the many splendid moments that humanize Picasso: he willingly accepts the free food, knowing that the uncashed check bearing his signature is worth much more than the price of the bread.

Siguenza not only wrote the fascinating play (based on the writings of Picasso), but paints the commissioned works before our very eyes. It is a rare opportunity indeed to witness such unmitigated and astounding writing, acting, and painting skills in one show. Not only do we receive insight to the creative process of the influential artist, but an absorbing exposition on existential philosophy, especially as it applies to the Master’s famous painting, Guernica.

This isn’t an over-the-top performance, even as Siguenza flits about flamboyantly, spouting Picasso’s controversial opinions. The same opinions and designs that took public and art world of the twentieth century by storm will leave you excited and inspired. Get tickets for this adaptation and see why Siguenza’s magnum opus perfectly embodies Picasso’s quote, “Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.”

To ensure the safety of those participating in the production of A Weekend with Pablo Picasso, San Diego REP followed strict public health guidelines and protocol related to filmmaking during the COVID-19 pandemic. This protocol includes the wearing of masks, social distancing, multiple testing of all participants, repeated sanitation of all materials and more.

photos by Daren Scott

A Weekend with Pablo Picasso
filmed version
San Diego REP
plays September 17 – October 14, 2020
for tickets ($35 per household) and more info, call 619.544.1000 or visit SD Rep

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