A Weekend with Pablo Picasso Review – The Gift of Metamorphosis

Herbert Siguenza - Photo courtesy of L.A. Theatre Works

At times, I feel sorry that I didn’t try to meet the great iconoclast Pablo Picasso when I could. And now it’s too late. If that rings true for you, then Herbert Siguenza’s A WEEKEND WITH PABLO PICASSO was made for you. An audio recording presented by the L.A. Theatre Works, A WEEKEND WITH PABLO PICASSO gives the listener the perfect opportunity to understand one of the greatest artists of our time. The recording is being released to coincide with the April 26 anniversary of the 1937 bombing of Guernica, the inspiration for one of Picasso’s most famous paintings. Written and performed by Herbert Siguenza, best known for his acting work with performance troupe Culture Clash, Siguenza is also an artist in his own right. As such, he has exquisite and unfailing insight into Picasso’s mind. Based on Picasso’s writings and directed for audio by Rosalind Ayres, this is an audio recording tour de force which you won’t want to miss.

Herbert Siguenza and script – Photo courtesy of L.A. Theatre Works

The audience gets to spend an entire weekend with Picasso in his private studio while he prepares four paintings and two ceramics, all new and original, for a wealthy buyer – to be delivered on Monday morning. While he works, he chats with you about his worldview – and what a fascinating worldview it is. For Picasso believes that every artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from everywhere – and that each moment is unique and will never happen again. For Picasso, God is an artist, one who is always trying new ideas – even if some of them fail. Picasso chuckles as one of his employees asks for a check…because he knows that the check will never be cashed. After all, his signature is worth far more than the amount of money the check represents. About work, Picasso knows that work is a necessity – “that’s why they invented the alarm clock” – but he also knows that everyone must love what he does.

Herbert Siguenza as Pablo Picasso – Photo courtesy of L.A. Theatre Works

Siguenza brilliantly follows Picasso for three days, hour by hour, as the consummate artist breathes fresh life into his creative endeavors. With almost manic focus, this is a man who sees in a way that is very special and is able to translate his vision into his creations. A man who must try everything and be everything. But Picasso is also able to think about his past. About a father who taught him to paint – and then gave up painting when Picasso surpassed his father’s artistic talents by the age of 14. About his early days in Paris, destitute yet reveling in every moment. About Guernica, perhaps his greatest work. And let’s not forget about his love life and his view of women personified by his wife, an intellectual giant who challenged him, and his mistress, the submissive mother of his child. And so it goes.

For a refreshing and telling exploration of the famous Pablo Picasso, LA Theatre Works has encapsulated his essence into a full hour about…everything. And, yes. He did complete the six original works by Monday morning. Siguenza does a vivid, superb job of portraying the Spanish artist.

As an added bonus, the audio recording also includes an interview with Herbert Siguenza and Stephanie Barron, senior curator and department head of modern art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Moderated by Susan Loewenberg, L.A. Theatre Works producing director, the segment offers some intriguing ideas to close the presentation.

A WEEKEND WITH PABLO PICASSO is now available online for purchase for $20. Purchase of the recording includes access to the Zoom interview of writer/performer Herbert Siguenza and LACMA senior curator Stephanie Barron. A subscription to L.A. Theatre Works entire nine- play 2020-21 digital season is $150 and offers bonus features including a special video conversation with L.A. Theatre Works founding members, Edward Asner, Richard Dreyfuss, Hector Elizondo, Stacy Keach, Marsha Mason, and JoBeth Williams.

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