Picasso at the Lapin Agile at Congregation Beth El in Schenectady

Written by on December 15, 2023

“Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” Steve Martin’s absurdist comedy about a chance encounter between painter Pablo Picasso and physicist Albert Einstein before either of them became famous, will be staged by Classic Theater Guild (CTG) beginning five weeks from today, on Thursday, January 18, 2024, at Congregation Beth Israel in Schenectady.

Set in 1904 at the real-life The Lapin Agile (“The Nimble Rabbit”), which still operates in Montmartre, France, “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” will also be performed on Saturday evenings, January 20th and January 27th; Sunday afternoons, January 21st and January 28th, and Thursday night, January 25th. The Thursday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m., while the Sunday afternoon matinees begin at 3 p.m.

“Picasso at the Lapin Agile” opened Off-Broadway at the Promenade Theater in 1995. Martin revised his “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” script in 2017; it is believed that this CTG production is the first time the new version of the play has been performed in the Capitol Region.
According to a published account, in 1905, Picasso painted a brooding image of himself and two figures from his personal life, Frederic Gerard and Germaine Pichot, and called it Au Lapin Agile (“At the Lapin Agile”). Both of these figures are key characters in “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” Gerard, who was the owner of The Lapin Agile, commissioned the painting, which was exhibited at the bar from 1905 through 1912. The painting helped make the bar famous.

Two years later, in 1907, Picasso created his large, controversial oil painting, Les Demoiselles D’Avignon (“The Young Ladies of Avignon”). Einstein published his Special Theory of Relativity in 1905.

Former New York Mets owner Lorinda de Roulet reportedly owned Au Lapin Agile when it was sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 1989 for $40.7 million. Her late mother, Joan Whitney Payson, had purchased it in 1952 for $60,000.

Both Picasso’s Au Lapin Agile and Les Demoiselles D’Avignon are now housed in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
For more information about the production, please contact Guild Vice-President Michael Silvia at (518) 813-5229. Congregation Beth Israel is located at 2195 Eastern Parkway in Schenectady.

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