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Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays: Picasso at the Lapin Agile, The Zig-Zag Woman, Patter for a Floating Lady, WASP [Paperback]

Steve Martin
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 7 1997
Steve Martin is one of America's most treasured actors, having appeared in some of the most popular moves of our time. He is also an accomplished screenwriter who has in the past few years turned his hand to writing plays. The results, collected here, hilariously explore serious questions of love, happiness and the meaning of life; they are rich with equal parts of pain and slapstick humour, torment and wit.

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From Amazon

Ever wonder what it would have been like if wild and crazy Steve Martin had written an episode of "The Twilight Zone"? Well, wonder no more. The zany actor/comedian made playwright rookie of the year with this, the script of his first comedy, set in a bar in 1904 Paris. Two of the regulars, twentysomethings Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein, argue about the art of physics and the physics of art as they try to impress and bed a pretty girl. And then the space/time/culture continuum ruptures, and they're joined by a figure from the future who seems to be . . . Elvis Presley! Read for yourself why the show's been done Off-Broadway and at regionals around the country. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Actor-comedian Martin is also an accomplished writer of screenplays, short stories, and now stage plays. The present work is his first full-length play and has enjoyed commercial success in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. It depicts an imaginary meeting of Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein in 1904 Paris, exploring the impact of art and science on our rapidly changing society. A surprise visit by Elvis adds some satiric commentary from a late-20th-century perspective. Among the other three short plays is Wasp, a stinging look at idealized 1950s suburban life. Though not essential, this is recommended for modern drama collections in larger public and academic libraries.?Howard E. Miller, M.L.S., St. Louis
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surreal and funny April 21 2004
Yes, it's that Steve Martin -- the wacky guy from "Naked Gun." The actor comedian pens some remarkably witty and imaginative stagework in "Picasso at the Lapin Agile And Other Plays." Two of the four plays are way too brief, but the longer works sparkle with wit and weirdness.
"Picasso At The Lapin Agile" brings two geniuses to the Lapin Agile: Picasso and Einstein, both young men in 1904. A clever round of discussion starts from there, with the two great men examining science and the culture around them. There are two one-act plays; the first is "Zig-Zag Woman," which is about an emotionally desperate women whose body is in three pieces and her conversations with three men.
The second one-act is "Patter For the Floating Lady," a surreal bit about a magician levitating his former love. "WASP" is perhaps the most biting, hilarious play of this collection -- a dark satire of the white-bread middle-classes of the 1950s. Martin expertly lampoons the religious, social, and cultural conventions of the WASPs of the time, with a father who doesn't know best, a pair of troublemaking kids, and a homemaker mom who talks with the voices in her head.
Martin's plays are both cynical and silly (he identifies a luxury item as "a thing you have that annoys other people that you have it"), with plenty of humor both dark and light. The two shorter works are the weakest. While "Patter" has some sweet, sad moments, these are too brief and unformed to make as much of an impression.
But "Picasso" and "WASP" are gems. The first is philosophical pondering, lightened with plenty of humor and an Elvis cameo. The second is dark absurdist satire that is more openly goofy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So Picasso and Einstein go into a bar.... Jan. 2 2002
The play isn't nearly as "heady" as it sounds, however it is just as intelligent. It isn't necessary to have read Einstein's theories, nor is an appreciation of Picasso required. It certainly helps, but if you are huge fans of either men, you will probably be disappointed in that here they are representational of something else. Art and Science. The represent the 20th Century and a "visitor" from the future, which seems to be pure sight-gag absurdity, comes to remind us that sometimes art and science take a back seat to legend. As you read you discover at first that it seems Mr. Martin has diverted to some pseudo-intellectual babble with some bathroom humor thrown in. However upon reading it again, and subsequently being cast in a production, I discovered exactly the opposite. He has instead turned his "wild and crazy guy" routine into something profound. Not because it answers the questions it raises, but instead he is much smarter. He chooses not to answer them at all. Leaving the audience to ponder the nature and the purpose of art, science, destiny, love, relationships, men, women, Pop Culture, and the 20th Century. And what better way to ponder it than with some funny jokes rather than a boring lecture. The other plays in this collection are equally fascinating, and poignant. Mr. Martin knows his stuff. He tells it like it is with relationships, between men and women. Sometimes symbolically (Zig-Zag Woman) and sometimes he hits you right in the face when you aren't looking (WASP). Smart, funny, and sexy. Honest.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Picasso's worth the purchase price July 24 2001
Steve Martin's ability to create memorable characters is astounding. He's done it from the start since the days of his stage act, through his appearances on Saturday Night Live, his movie career, and now on stage. Picasso at the Lapin Agile is as excellent as it is not because of the plot, the action, or the dialogue, but because of the memorable characters. This is Martin at his witty best, an enjoyable read that's surely equally enjoyable staged (I've yet to have that pleasure).
And then there's The Zig-Zag Woman, Patter for the Floating Lady, and Wasp. No, there's not a stark contrast here -- there are certainly some memorable characters in these pieces. But it's almost like we've been given a glance into early drafts, something Martin planned to make more of in the future that never quite realized their potential. They're cute little throwaway one-acts, that never would've made their way into a book on their own. Thankfully, Picasso at the Lapin Agile is worth the purchase price alone, so you can view these other pices simply as bonus material.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Picasso at the Lapin Agile July 16 2001
To be honest, I don't actually own this book. I have however performed the play 'Picasso at the Lapin Agile', and found it to be one of the best contemporary plays I had ever read. It is a witty, intelligent piece written by an actor perhaps best known for more woolly works, such as 'Father of the Bride'; however the play is a developed and substantial one, and I thoroughly enjoyed both reading and performing it. It is set in Paris, 1904, at the Lapin Agile, an actual pub that Pablo Picasso frequented and that exists today, and concerns a fictional meeting between Albert Einstein and Picasso. It is also coloured with many other interesting characters, who I won't reveal in case any reader of this review wishes to see the play, suffice to say that the finale of the play, with Einstein, Picasso and a certain popular musical figure from the middle of the 20th Century, who I had the great pleasure of playing, is my best memory of the stage. An excellent play, which would recieve five stars on its own - however owing to the fact that I haven't read the rest of the plays, I give it a four.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Intellectual and charming
I really enjoyed reading the play. What made it even better was seeing the play a few months later. I definitely recommend reading the book before it is on stage. Read more
Published on July 6 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars for la_solinas
Steve Martin was never in the Naked Gun movies. You are thinking of a far less skilled actor and comedian, Leslie Neilson. If I were Steve, I'd be offended.
Published on June 28 2004 by SP
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 good, 1 OK, and 2 Ugly
Picasso at the Lapin Agile is a wonderful play, with a great deal of tongue-in-cheek humor, dry wit, and intelligent riddles. Read more
Published on March 28 2002 by "plattypus"
5.0 out of 5 stars e-shaped pie
picasso has to be the wittiest play i've ever seen performed. Such intelligent humor. The jokes sometimes take awhile to get, but once you get them they're worth it. Read more
Published on March 1 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars No title, jus funny plays
Picasso at the Lapin Agile is a very funny play. The other pieces are good, too, but Picasso is the best of the bunch. Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2002 by Jeff South
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is So Great
I've never seen any of the plays performed, but I like them so much, I'm getting ready to stage my own take on these plays.
Published on Aug. 6 2001 by Joe Lee
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, but a little jokey for the stage
I played Gaston (the comic relief) in a college production of "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" and think that it's one of the wittiest and funniest plays of the last 10... Read more
Published on April 29 2001 by Scott Eckert
4.0 out of 5 stars "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" - art meets smart
I haven't read the other plays yet, but I just finished reading 'Picasso' yesterday. I laughed out loud several times. Read more
Published on March 21 2001 by Andrew Gilmore
5.0 out of 5 stars An Awesome, exciting, moving tour-de-fource
This book of plays takes the reader through 4 at times hilarious, and at times marvelous worlds. First: Picasso: This play is the true gem in the collection, as well as the... Read more
Published on Feb. 17 2001
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