Weekend with Pablo Picasso: A Little Thin
The Setup: Herbert Siguenza, writer and actor in the one-man show Weekend with Pablo Picasso, has said that his purpose here is to make the audience feel "like they are spending an intimate weekend with a master."
The Execution: Siguenza is a robust, earthy presence who looks just enough like the great man. He bravely creates some art of his own while onstage, and on a couple of drawings, notably one near the play's end of a bull and bullfighter, Siguenza really does come close enough. But the play finally struck me as being a little thin.
Siguenza's approach lacks drama. That's largely because, by 1957, when the play is set, Picasso is a pretty happy man. Yes, as a communist of sorts he agonizes over the Soviet invasion of Hungary, which brings back memories of the Spanish Civil War and Guernica. But those dark memories are only a faint echo, and we're left with Picasso's happiness and his freedom to do as he pleases. The play is well staged by director Todd Salovey. Victoria Petrovich's projection design brought in images from both Picasso's life and 20th-century war.
The Verdict: Siguenza largely succeeds, but none of this took me very deeply into Pablo Picasso's complex world.
(Through February 27. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas, 713-220-5700.)
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