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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 – Aug 7 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (Aug. 7 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802135234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802135230
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14 x 1.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #276,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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A bar in Paris, 1904. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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By Craig on Nov. 1 2000
Format: Paperback
This play epitemizes the term "sophomoric." I mean, you get a play with Picasso and Einstein in it, it must be important and brilliant, right? But the ideas are half-baked, and the gags not nearly as good as a good sit-com. Martin should stick to movie acting and go back to stand up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on April 21 2004
Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on July 6 2004
Format: Paperback
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. This plays particularly appeals to anyone who's interested in clever dialogs and has a wild imagination.
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By SP on June 29 2004
Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
Picasso at the Lapin Agile is a wonderful play, with a great deal of tongue-in-cheek humor, dry wit, and intelligent riddles. In this play, Martin has set out a very amusing treatise on some very important aspects of the 20th century, especially regarding art and science.
There are, however, three other plays in this collection. Two of them, Zig-Zag Woman and Patter for a Floating Lady, can hardly be called plays. They're not even one-acts. They have the appearance of just being filler that Martin wrote to pass the time. Wasp, the fourth play in the collection, has many high points, including an hilarious monologue the father delivers to the son. It contains enough dark humor and sarcasm to make it a good read.
Picasso at the Lapin Agile alone is worth buying this collection, but don't expect the other plays to live up to Picasso's status. It is, though, a good collection for anyone interested in this type of humor or drama.
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By A Customer on March 2 2002
Format: Paperback
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. But the e-shaped pie joke- if anyone could explain it to me-i'd be eternaly grateful.
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Format: Paperback
Picasso at the Lapin Agile is a very funny play. The other pieces are good, too, but Picasso is the best of the bunch. It combines high concept and absurd humor for uniquely theatrical piece.
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Format: Paperback
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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