Introspective: two lives

Endlessly delicious, Siguenza’s original one-person production is a colorful relief

By Charlene Baldridge | SDUN Theater Critic

The life of Pablo Picasso is a prime example of the fact that one need not be an admirable person to be a magnificent artist. In fact, artists then and artists now continue to ride roughshod over others and probably will forever, or just as long as the world spins.

Playwright and actor Herbert Siguenza said he believes Picasso had mellowed out by age 76, the time in which the playwright sets his one-actor play. “A Weekend With Pablo Picasso” presents an impish master artist who dances, puts on the red nose, sings and paints.

Herbert Siguenza as Picasso (Photo by Darren Scott)

Herbert Siguenza as Picasso (Photo by Darren Scott)

Siguenza, himself an accomplished artist, creates paintings on stage each night – not imitations of Picasso, but original “Siguenzas.” He makes one artwork that depicts an audience member, then at the end of the show bestows it upon the delighted subject. A sweet moment, indeed.

As written and performed by Siguenza, Picasso is fascinating and far from his dotage. The Spanish artist, who once kept both a wife and a mistress simultaneously, lived until 1973. He remained married the last part of his life to Jacqueline Roque, who is absent in the play because she has taken Picasso’s two children to Paris.

With a swirling dose of artworks, especially Picasso’s masterpiece from 1937 called “Guernica,” which still haunts the artist, the script delivers Picasso’s nuggets of wisdom regarding art, war, women and work. There are few actors who could deliver such maxims without becoming tedious.

Congratulations to Siguenza, director Todd Salovey, projection designer Victoria Petrovich, and scenic and costume designer Giulio Perrone, who serve up an endlessly delicious and colorful repast. Much admired, Perrone not only creates Picasso’s villa in southern France, called Le Californie, he also gives us an idea what the artist wore in which to work.

Even though no one else appears in the play, the designer and Siguenza give us a real sense that the bread man, Picasso’s dealer, and others are present in the wings and could walk in at any moment. With its charming Satie-like music, Bruno Louchouarn’s sound design is reinforcement of the sunny games an artist plays to keep himself engaged.

“A Weekend With Pablo Picasso” continues in extension through Oct. 13, with three additional shows added from its original run.

Editor’s note: There will be two performances of “A Weekend with Pablo Picasso” performed by Siguenza in Spanish: Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. “There is a very large Spanish speaking demographic in the San Diego area that has been underserved by all of the regional theaters in the area,” Siguenza said in a press release. “San Diego REP has produced many shows by Latino writers and themes but never a full-production in Spanish, which is the native and preferred tongue to many who live and work in the area. I want to prove that if a quality professional production in Spanish is produced, audiences will support it.”

“A Weekend with Pablo Picasso”
WHERE: San Diego Repertory Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza (Downtown)
WHEN: Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 and 7 p.m. through Oct. 13
INFO: 619-544-1000

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