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Steve Martin comedy plays on campus

By Leah Coffman
On February 14, 2013

  • John Miersen, Liberal Arts emphasis, and Ethan Nelson, vocal music emphasis, play off each other as Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein. Photo By Dallas Wilcox

 "Saturday Night Live", "The Pink Panther" and decades of stand-up genius may come to mind with the name Steve Martin.  However, the famous actor and comedian has a wealth of writing credits to his name.  His one-act play, "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," opens on Feb. 7 in Ballantyne Auditorium. 

The curtain opens on a bar in Paris, where two geniuses of the 20th century have a chance encounter.  Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein, both on the brink of their achievements, banter about genius and talent, art and science.

The show's mix of intelligence and humor shows through in the witty dialogue.  "This is definitely Steve Martin," remarked cast member Emily Bartels, theatre emphasis. 

John Miersen, Liberal Arts emphasis, agreed.  "There's satire and he breaks the 4th wall repeatedly." 

Kathy Pudzuvelis, associate professor of speech and drama at Mt. Mercy University, is directing the show.  She praised the show's accessibility.  "Playgoers don't have to have a background in art or science. It's an approachable show," she said. 

The approachability shines through in the play's adult but humorous handling of romance.  "Picasso thinks he's God's gift to women.  He knows he can have anyone whenever," remarked cast member Becca Mione, Liberal Arts and theatre emphasis.

Despite the comedy, the show features two of the dominant influences of the 20th century.  Picasso and Einstein both changed the world through art and science. 

Pudzuvelis remarked, "Their ego mixed with their brilliance allows them to take that leap into the unknown."  The pair, both at the extremes of the creative process, are able to discuss and find common ground and a means of relating to each other. 

The show runs from Feb. 7 - 10. Evening shows start at 7:30 p.m., with the Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m.  Runtime is an hour and a half.  Regular admission is $10 and is free for Kirkwood students. 

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