A Picasso at the théâtre de Nesle, Paris, October-November 2015
Télématin October 26, 2015
The curtain rises. We are in Paris, 1941. The sound of marching boots and the reality of the German Occupation. an underground vault. Pablo Picasso is thrown in!
Sex, Art, Politics, and a classy 20th century icon are all wrapped up into an intense, confrontational drama with sensitivity and wit. Mademoiselle Fischer, a beautiful, “cultural attaché”, from Berlin has arrested Picasso. She needs him to authenticate three of his pieces, recently “confiscated”, by the Nazis from their Jewish owners, for inclusion in a “degenerate art show”, curated by Joseph Goebbles. Picasso does, whereupon he learns that the works will be destroyed in a bonfire!
Picasso needs to save his œuvre. Mademoiselle Fischer needs a Picasso to save her life. A true face to face ensues, wherein, all is at stake.
Picasso was a passionate man. Picasso is a monument. To portray a such a real character on stage is challenging in this era of biopic culture. As much as you try, as an actor, to bring yourself to this referenced character, you must always remember that the audience is here to hear words resonate, follow a compelling story and partake in a reflexion
about any theme it sees or projects (politic, art, sex, feminism, etc…).In the play, Picasso says about Guernica’s inspiraton: “If you’re a soldier, you fight,…, if you're a painter, you paint” . For me , if you’re an actor, you speak and honor the words of a playwright.
Press Reviews (click on images to see full article)
"Charles Fathy incarnates a remarkable Picasso : he portrays a man sure of his genius with a big mischievous tongue, and an intense look. Natalia Lazarus provides her partner with poignant retorts and intensity; she knows how to incarnate both a female civil servant and a woman both carried away and trapped by her own personality and life.. Gilles Costaz "
"A superb, funny, moving and profound text adapted by Elise Bayle, a minimalist stage by Steven Ullman and Natalia Lazarus, and a masterful performance by Charles Fathy playing Picasso, and Natalia Lazarus playing Mademoiselle Fisher. She is in turn authoritarian, moving and charming, playing opposite a Picasso who is arrogant, sure of his talent, and as misogynistic as they come! "
"Charles Fathy gives all of himself to his interpretation of the Picasso character. Natalia Lazarus, excellent, incarnates a Mademoiselle Fischer that is consumed and fed from within. The performance is emotionally shattering. A great moment of theatre where at first one feels that nothing will happen and then slowly and casually the unveiling of the personality of this artist begins to happen and it sounds and feels real, as Picasso still haunts the area. Let’s thank the Americans for reminding us of this so nicely!" Evelyne Trân
"The two bilingual actors engage in an intense and emotional verbal joust, with a few humorous moments. The text is well written and intricate and we learn a lot about Picasso’s life and the fact that while he lived in Paris, he never really became French or Parisian. His relationship to art and politics is also evoked. Finely acted and well directed, “A Picasso” is worth the detour for its original approach of the painter. Only a few showings left before its international tour! Mary Matys
"Perfectly directed, impeccably acted to such a degree that Charles Fathy sometimes embodies disturbing airs of Picasso . Art, politics, and the role of art in society, herein is the theme of this play, one which is never outdated, always exciting. An excellent translation, dramaturgy, and spatial arrangement that leads to reflection not only of the place of art in the world, but especially of its effectiveness . Jean-Max Méjean "
"Charles Fathy plays a disturbingly resembling Picasso, in turn grief-stricken, angry, arrogant, manipulative or seducing.Facing him is Natalia Lazarus, who also co-directed. She creates a surprising character, at first the incarnation of an authoritarian Nazi, without falling into a stereotype, and then slowly reveals her personal universe, as a learned woman from a family imbued with culture and art appreciation. The two exceptional actors give life to their characters with intense realism. Nicole Bourbon"
"Vigorously and passionately but without concern for reality , «A Picasso» is not a hagiography of the Iberian genius. Jeffrey Hatcher’s play allows two excellent actors to immediately captivate the audience and take them on an intriguing journey filled with plot twists and turns.Philippe Person "
"Seeing A PICASSO, constitutes a political act. We didn’t know it but two possessed actors have convinced us. They are pit against each other as enemies, even though they are not and they are forced to dance an infernal waltz on a crazy merry go round from which they cannot descend. Siamese twins against their will but attracted to each other like lovers, they become accomplices as they give fire to the beast " Dominique Planche
" Playwright Jeffrey Hatcher's drama artfully combines a threatening atmosphere with a charged debate on art and politics. The grounded performances and pleasantly nuanced arguments are enough to keep the work vivid and compelling. Paul Birchall"