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Have you heard the one about the two geniuses who walk into a bar?

March 10, 2011

(Image design by Kristen Entringer, BFA, graphic design, Department of Art, Chapman University)

In 1904 Paris Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein wander into the same bar, strike up a conversation, toss back a few and launch into a debate over the virtue of art versus the value of science. If you’d like to be the fly on the wall for that fantastical meeting of minds, then be sure to catch “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” which opens Thursday, March 17, in Waltmar Theatre.

The fantasy comedy written by comedian and author Steve Martin imagines the great artist and physicist coming together for a wild and crazy time just as each is on the cusp of world-changing innovations.

Nina LeNoir, Ph.D., associate professor, and director of the production, chose the play for the intriguing way it explores the new ideas in science and art that exploded onto the world in the early 20th century.

“Picasso and Einstein actually changed the way we view reality completely. There are references in the play about how they perceive the world and that, of course, is the essence of what happened in the movement in art and science and other fields,” says Dr. LeNoir. “Nobody thought about relativity until Einstein. Picasso deconstructed the world.”

Preceding the play’s March 17 opening will be a special joint reception with the Department of Art titled “Art, Theatre, Reality?” The event marks the closing of the exhibit “Measure for Measure” and the opening of “Picasso” with a 5:30 p.m. reception followed by a 6:30 p.m. Q&A with Lisa Randall and Lia Halloran, co-curators, in the Guggenheim Gallery. A discussion about art and science in the play will follow at 7 p.m., with Dr. LeNoir, and Drs. Wendy Salmond and Stephen Polcari, both from the Department of Art.

Other performances will be at 7:30 p.m., March 18-19 and March 24-26, with an additional matinee Sunday, March 26,  at 2 p.m. Admission $15 to $20.

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