What discussions would have transpired if Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso had met? Picasso at the Lapin Agile, an absurdist comedy written by Steve Martin, presents a scenario where these two men cross paths in a Parisian Cafe in 1904.

The performance, directed by Albert Hendeaux, opens Thursday, Jan. 19, at Suze’s Prescott Center for the Arts (PCA), 208 N. Marina St., Prescott, and runs through Jan. 29 in the newly built PCA Studio Theater.

In his first comedy for the stage, Martin places Einstein and Picasso in a timeline where they might have met just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his Theory of Relativity and the celebrated painter set the art world afire with cubism.

“It’s a farce and it’s a fable because this never really happened,” Hendeaux said. “Picasso never met Einstein at the Lapin Agile but Steve Martin envisioned it because the two guys were about the same age at this particular point. This takes place in 1904 in Paris, at this watering hole that artists, musicians would hang out at the Lapin Agile, the Agile Rabbit.”

The story plays fast and loose with fact, fame and fortune as these two geniuses muse on the century’s achievements and prospects, as well as other fanciful topics, with infectious dizziness. Bystanders, including Picasso’s agent, the bartender and his mistress, Picasso’s date, an elderly philosopher, Charles Dabernow Schmendiman, and an idiot inventor introduce additional flourishes of humor.

“In fact, Picasso used to trade drawings for drinks, so he definitely was a regular there but Einstein, we don’t know if he’d ever even set foot in the place because he didn’t really spend a lot of time in Paris,” Hendeaux said. “It’s a fable, envisioning these two geniuses in different fields and how they interact and they instantly bonded.”

According to Anthony Veneziano, the actor playing Picasso, the biggest challenge of preparing for this play has been the obstacles involved in being the first to perform in the new Studio Theater.

“It’s made things a little bit difficult, not necessarily knowing where you’re going to rehearse what night, because we’ve got a couple different shows going on,” Veneziano said. “It makes things exciting as well because when we finally get in there, we’re just going to take off with it.”

The actor playing Einstein, Erik Hermstad, added that the opening of the play was delayed a week, which was both frustrating but allowed the actors more time to strengthen their performances.

“Because of the red tape, we haven’t been able to open when we wanted at the time we wanted,” Hermstad said. “However, that just kind of gave us all time to kind of relax more into the role.”

The final surprise patron to join the bizarre combination of historic characters at the Lapin Agile is a charismatic dark-haired singer, time-warped in from a later era.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit, or call 928-445-3286.

Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @ JesseBertel, email him at, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.

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