Theatre production brings Picasso and Einstein together

The year is 1904, and Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso meet at a café in Paris.

This is the setting for UNA Theatre’s production of the Steve Martin comedy “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.”

The play will open Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the George S. Lindsey Theatre.

 “When the play was originated, it was really like a toast to the 20th century,” said Associate Professor of Theatre Charlton James, the play’s director. “It was (also) kind of a toast to the main two features who kind of changed the way of thinking in arts and sciences.”

The comedy has many secrets, said sophomore Jake Skinner, who plays Albert Einstein.

“It’s laughter with substance,” he said. “There’s a lot of subtext with every line.”

The play shows a comparison between the arts and sciences, said junior Eric Bjork, who plays Gaston.

“I like to think it shows the similarity between art and science by showing the similarities between Picasso and Einstein,” he said. “Some people may understand why art is so important when compared to science.”

James said they chose the play, because it offered different challenges for the cast.

“I think we always try to choose plays that offer a different set of obstacles for the students to deal with,” he said. “We always look at who we have and what they need. It felt like the right time for this play, and we had the right number of students.”

Bjork said one of those challenges was avoiding playing the character realistically.

“You can read the play and think of it realistically, but, really, it’s supposed to be this absurd crazy thing,” he said. “We’re basically cartoon characters. So, it was hard for us at first, because we were playing it so realistically. Even though I’m (portraying) this old French pervert, I was being a realistic old French pervert.”

Senior Edwin Huertas, who plays Pablo Picasso, said the characters are caricatures, which makes the play interesting.

“If we met our characters in real life, we probably wouldn’t like them very much,” he said. “We have to make them likeable for a play, and they are because they are characters.”

Senior Tori Crabtree said the cast was able to embody these characters because of how they worked together.

“We all really meshed well together,” she said. “While we have opposing personalities, somehow, we all sort of clicked together in this puzzle of a play. We fit so well together when we’re rehearsing, and we make it fun and enjoyable. I think that what helps the audience enjoy it more is when we’re having fun up here.”

Students should come to the play, because they will be able to connect with the characters and some of the messages in the play, said sophomore Laney Green.

“For college students, we do make points that, if you really think about it, may pertain to your studies and what you want to do with your life,” she said. “So, for them to come here, they’ll understand and get closer to the characters.”

The play will be Nov. 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students, faculty, staff and alumni.

To purchase tickets, call the Lindsey Theatre Box Office (MWF 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.) at 256-765-5500, visit or pick them up at the door.