Students bring Steve Martin comedy to WCHS stage
Lots of people know actor Steve Martin for his performances in "Father of the Bride" or "The Jerk" and many other films. Far fewer people know Martin has written a comedy for the stage: "Picasso at the Lapin Agile." When teacher Ken Tonks, director of the theater program at Woodford County High School, read Martin's stage play he says, "I really liked what it said about the 20th Century." Set in a bar in 1904 Paris, Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein - who never really met during their lifetimes - argue about the art of physics and the physics of art while attempting to impress a pretty girl. This fictionalized meeting occurs in a time of great societal change in terms of art and industry. "It's also a comment on what really is important in life," says Tonks. "It doesn't appear to be art. It appears to be industry and entertainment for entertainment sake." As Martin's comedy comes to a close, an unexpected visitor from the future - never identified as Elvis - informs Picasso and Einstein that entertainers like him become the geniuses of the 20th Century. Not a bad prediction given the fame of athletes, singers and others in America today. "Think (about) all of the people on YouTube who are famous for being famous," says Tonks. "Are those really the people that we look at as our titans of creativity? And that's what I liked about" this comedy's underlying story. "Plus," he adds, "I like Steve Martin." Landing the title role in "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" was an opportunity for WCHS senior Charles Adams to learn more about Martin and his comedic life as a playwright poking fun at reality. "It's got a lot of underlying themes weaved into it," says Charles, 17. "It's very interesting trying to dissect a play like this" for those underlying themes from Martin's comedic perspective. "I'm not playing the real Einstein," explains WCHS senior Caleb Adkins, "I'm playing Steve Martin's interpretation of Einstein . in this fictionalized setting where he and Picasso met." Audiences will have an opportunity to experience Martin's take on Einstein, Picasso and society entering the 20th Century during three performances: Thursday, Oct. 27, Friday, Oct. 28, and Saturday, Oct. 29. Show times are 7 p.m. at the WCHS cafeteria. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students.