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INTO THE NIGHT

RSVP : 'Picasso' Party an Artistic Success

October 24, 1994|BILL HIGGINS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: Saturday's West Coast premiere of "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" at the Westwood Playhouse. There was a packed after-party in the courtyard. Performed by the Chicago-based Steppenwolf Theatre Company, this is Steve Martin's one-act comedy regarding a hypothetical meeting between Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein in 1904 in a Parisian cafe. "They were two young men with big ideas and it was just prior to these ideas being fully expressed," said Martin. "I thought about those moments when people are young and filled with enthusiasm and magic. That's what the play's about."

Audience Review: The crowd seemed to embrace the play. They gave it a standing ovation. Martin Mull said, "Steve Martin is to playwriting what he is to everything else he tries."

Who Was There: Martin, director Randall Arney, plus as large a Hollywood turnout as any play in Los Angeles has ever gotten. Among the 500 guests were Carol Burnett, Martin Short, John Goodman, Ron Howard, Helen Hunt, Bea Arthur, Gary Sinise, Linda Gray, Eric Idle, Dana Delany and Jay Leno, who said: "The thing I liked about the play is, not knowing much about art or science, it made me feel smart. And I got all the jokes."

Who Stood Out: An amply bosomed, gray-bearded transvestite wearing hoop earrings, black nylons, a tight white dress and orange pumps quietly waited outside the theater all evening. "I think he saw 'Ed Wood' one time too many," said one guest.

Chow: From Along Came Mary came scallop brochettes, salad nicoise, grilled sausages and ratatouille. One veteran playgoer said the difference between theater and film premiere crowds is, "Here they just eat. They don't make deals. Of course, here there aren't any deals to be made."

Quoted: Martin on theater versus film: "In a play you can deal with a topic like this. In a movie, you really can't. They cost too much and they're for a mass audience. With this, I have to fill 500 seats a night and I can be as esoteric as I want."

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