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By Elizabeth Youngman Westphal
Special to The Village News 

'A Weekend with Pablo Picasso' is memorable

 

Last updated 8/19/2019 at 5:04pm

Daren Scott photo

Herbert Siguenza is Pablo Picasso, discussing his life's work in "A Weekend with Pablo Picasso," playing at New Village Arts in Carlsbad Village.

It is a triumph! The very idea of theater is captured in this one-man show echoing a weekend in the life of famous painter Pablo Picasso.

In a personal and moving performance, Herbert Siguenza is a tour de' force. It is his intimate portrayal that brings the man to life. Siguenza honors himself while paying tribute to the artist. Espectrolarial!

Developing the work throughout the years, resident artist/writer/performer Siguenza is based downtown at the San Diego Rep. This particular work is gleaned from countless quotes from published interviews.

In just a decade he has become the man he admires. Like his honoree, Siguenza is a painter. It is his artistic talent that re-imagines Picasso's life's work representing – not copying – the gifted artist.

Born Oct. 25, 1881, in Malaga, Spain, he was christened Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriana de la Santisima Trinidad Matyr Patricio Clito Ruis y Picasso. Becoming Picasso, however, took a lifetime.

It's 1957* the painter is nestled in the French countryside while his wife is in Paris seeking medical attention for their daughter.

Alone at 10 a.m., Friday morning, his telephone rings beckoning Picasso from his morning bath. Longtime friend and art dealer Dan is calling from Paris to let Picasso know he has received a new commission by a wealthy American woman. She requires six canvases and three vases delivered together. He can paint them all any way he wishes.

Pretty exciting stuff until Picasso hears the caveat. All of the work will be picked up Monday morning for transport to Paris.

Adding to the muddle, Dan cautions Pablo to be nice to the art students who will be arriving shortly to observe him working over the next few days. That is when the audience is engaged and becomes a part of the performance. And the real fun begins.

The imagery is remarkable. Presenting the painter at 76, barrel-chested and tanned, Siguenza dresses in the artist's familiar causal white pants, belting in his striped pullover knit shirt, after sliding into canvas zapatos. Bald pate ringed with white hair, Picasso is in the room.

Dan, by the way, is none other than Daniel Henry Kahnweller. Recognized as the 20th century's most influential fine art dealer, and a great fan of cubism, Kahnweller's prestigious Paris gallery opened in 1907 and immediately started showing Picasso's work a year later. Picasso's portrait of his lifelong friend hangs in the Chicago Institute of Art in Chicago.

"A Weekend with Pablo Picasso" is a limited engagement playing at New Village Arts in Carlsbad Village, 2587 State Street only until Aug. 25. Tickets to this event will not last. Buy quickly or miss out. Remember, there is plenty of free parking behind the theater at the Coaster lot. The Box office can be reached at (760) 433-3245 or http://www.newvillagearts.org.

Like his art, "A Weekend with Pablo Picasso" is eloquently expressive and will live in memory for years. This show is rated 10 out of 10.

*One must wonder if the current theatrical presentations are audience driven? It would seem San Diego County theater managers are recognizing the importance of sustaining a renewed subscription base.

Lamb's Players of Coronado presents "Million Dollar Quartet" at the AVO in Vista, and "Rock of Ages" plays at the Cygnet in Old Town. "33 1/3 House of Dreams" is downtown at the Lyceum stage produced by San Diego Rep, while around the corner at The Horton is SDMT's "All Shook Up." "Tenderly" opens this week at North Coast Repertory about Rosemary Clooney's career.

Each production is happening or happened in the 1950s. Even Moonlight Theater is tagging along with "Westside Story" which was released in 1961 but focuses on the late fifties. It's beginning to feel like everything old is new again.

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal can be reached at eyoungman@reedermedia.com.

 

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