The magic and artistry of Pablo Picasso shine through in this fun-filled family show at GALA. Playwright director Cornelia Cody brings his talent to life through stories, music, dance and even circus fun finally bringing the artist’s fixation on harlequin clowns to light.
Camilo Linares as Picasso is a whirlwind of energy, bouncing across the stage, introducing us to a time when music was played on a gramophone and Picasso, at the age of 9, was producing masterpieces. Linares prances and glides through time as he shares the artist’s zest for life, his determination to explore new approaches and reinvent himself with the flick of a brush. Charismatic to the max, Linares lights up the room with his smile and brings us all along the artistic journey of seeing life in new ways.
The ensemble players are just as energetic bringing a range of characters to life as part of “Picasso’s World” thanks to talented Teresa Quigley Danskey, Adrián Jesús Iglesias, Karen Morales-Chacana, and Karen Romero.
When we learn that Papa Picasso, also a painter, introduced the talented youngster to bull fights, the troop stages a kind and gentle rendition, complete with glamorous flamingo dancer and dashing matador. And of course, a replica of a charging bull.
closes March 23, 2019
Details and tickets
The show is filled with so many insightful lines and concepts. Early on, a young Picasso boldly asserts how easy it was to create art like the Mona Lisa, but the challenge was reclaiming the exuberance and artistic freedom of a child.
Projections by Kelly Colburn were masterfully executed revealing the incredible range of the artist’s work. The engaging script helps explain his transitions and moods, such as the “blue period” and even introduced elements of cubism. Four characters danced around the stage each with a quartered portion of a picture and took several attempts to position them correctly, like a puzzle. A pioneer of seeing the world so differently, Picasso showed the underlying architecture of form using multiple vantage points to fracture images into geometric shapes. The character explains how he sees reality from different perspectives simultaneously and the importance of capturing emotions. It’s as much how you feel as what you see. Listen closely and you’ll hear a reference to the famous Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and maybe even find yourself exploring more such images on your own.
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Costume designer Jeanette Christensen re-creates the outfits worn in the paintings. In one scene, the performers twirl effortlessly into position and before you know it, they replicate several of Picasso’s masterpieces with amazing precision.
Writer/director Cody captures so much in an inspirational blend of storytelling, history, and play while choreographer Álvaro Palau blends in the movement for a light and natural touch.
This world premiere is fully participatory and comfortably bilingual where the audience can enjoy both languages, listening and understanding with ease. The audience is also invited to explore their own creative expressions by drawing a face on their program, sometimes unleashing more artistry than expected. Under the watchful eye and encouraging motions of the actors, the older crowd loosens up and timid strokes turn into bold flourishes. Just like the actor playing Picasso notes, there is nothing like the excitement and playfulness of a child, and with this show, we all become young at heart.
Picasso is filled to the brim with insight mixed with cultural awareness and meaningful life messages. Lots of fun, and an artistically good time.
Picasso . Written and Directed by Cornelia Cody . Cast: Camilo Linares as Picasso. Ensemble/Picasso’s World: Teresa Quigley Danskey, Adrián Jesús Iglesias, Karen Morales-Chacana, Karen Romero . Scenic Design: Jonathan Dahm Robertson . Costume Design: Jeanette Christensen . Sound Design: Devin Mahoney . Lighting Design: Alberto Segarra . Choreography: Álvaro Palau . Projections: Kelly Colburn . Properties Design: Alicia Tessari . Production Coordinator: Tony Koehler . Stage Manager: Rachael Sheffer . Produced by GALA Hispanic Theatre . Reviewed by Debbie Minter Jackson.