Preview: ‘Picasso’ acts out the art of comedy

Dan Cassilagio and Justin E. Johnson star in Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

Courtesy of DVC Drama Department

Dan Cassilagio and Justin E. Johnson star in “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.”

Melanie Calimlim, Staff member

The Diablo Valley College Drama Department will bring Steve Martin’s comedic play “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” back to stage on March 13.

“Picasso at the Lapin Agile” was first performed in Chicago of 1993, featuring the characters of Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso as well as an eccentric cast of individuals.

In this 1904 setting, Einstein and Picasso meet at a bar in an Paris, where both men are on the verge of reaching fame.

Einstein will develop his theory of relativity, and Picasso, his painting, “The Young Ladies of Avignon.”

The play has a fast tempo and a witty personality. It isn’t just about delivering the funny lines. Daniel Cassilagio, who plays the genius Einstein, thought bringing his character alive was difficult, acknowledging that Einstein is about three times smarter than he is.

“I had to do a lot of research and reading,” Cassilagio says. “And I am really glad I did. Not only for personalization of the role, but Einstein was a truly fascinating man and holds really unique theories and knowledge. It also opened my eyes to the impact and connection of both art and science.”

Even Justin Johnson, who plays Picasso notices the difficulties in taking on the play as they rehearse.

“It’s been an interesting process,” he says. “This isn’t an ordinary play that any of us have ever encountered. His [Steve Martin] comedy is really unique. We had to really get to his style of comedy, of how to set up jokes and work off of each other.”

There’s much to expect in this play. The cast hopes the play’s humor and witty dialogue will keep the audience intrigued. Director Ryan Weible says, “This play is about ideas, the anticipation of what is to come in the twentieth century through the irony of hindsight.”

Performances are at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays from March 13-29.

For tickets, call (925) 969-2358 or go visit the DVC Drama Department website.