A Weekend with Pablo Picasso

Herbert Siguenza stars as Pablo Picasso (Jennifer M. Koskinen) We spent a weekend with Pablo Picasso on Wednesday, and it was hilarious, entertaining, sobering and inspiring.

Well, ok, it was really just a couple of hours, and it was really Herbert Siguenza, who wrote and stars in the one-man show at the San Diego Repertory Theatre.

Siguenza originally wrote and performed the play "A Weekend with Pablo Picasso" three years ago in San Diego (it debuted at the REP), and after touring the states, he's brought the show back to its birthplace.  The opening scene of Picasso in a bathtub washing himself with an oven mitt immediately intrigues, and Siguenza is brilliant at giving Picasso a human voice, one that instructs and inspires throughout the performance.  The audience is immediately drawn in to become not only intimate observers of the painter and his work, but participants in the play.  Playgoers who allow themselves to become the art student and be influenced by the master will leave with more than what they had.  We did.

I had the honor of working with Herbert on one of the San Diego Repertory Theatre's "Surround Events," which are pre and post show events relating to the show on stage.  The REP asked me and the Grey Pony Writers Guild to collaborate with Herbert and actors of Amigos del REP to put on a Surrealist Poetry Reading, which we did on Wednesday night.  Did you know that Picasso stopped painting for two years to devote himself to poetry (mostly surrealist automatic writing and Dada nihilism), and wrote two plays?  Just one of the little tidbits you'll learn when you go see the show.

"Cycle 391" illustration by Rachel Eva

Grey Pony Writers (Stephen Silke, Kristopher Apple and Rachel Eva) steeped ourselves in the surrealist writing movement, crafted new poems, and selected historical works by Paul Eluard, Philippe Soupault, Erik Satie, Kitasono Katue, and Andre Breton.  The result is "Cycle 391," a menagerie of original and curated works, influenced by the dadaist and surrealist movements of the early 20th century. Actors from Amigoes del REP (Richard Trujillo, Elisa Gonzales, Goyo Flores, and Zayra Nicifore) performed the works, instructed to interpret, perform, and lend them their own air.  We ended the performance with a beautiful [and to me, somewhat haunting (which I love)] original sound composition by Kristopher Apple on the violin.

After the conclusion of "Cycle 391," we had the pleasure of viewing the play, "A Weekend with Pablo Picasso."  Please go buy your tickets RIGHT NOW to see the show! I'm going to buy a second pair to see it again before it ends on October 6th-- it was that good.  Tickets start at $18 for students, $20 for military, and $36 for us regular adults.  One special feature of this show is that there are 3 performances (October 5th & 6th) performed completely in Spanish!  Herbert especially wants the show to be seen by young people, teenagers, "youths," and those who are still young in the soul.  He is extremely encouraging, inspiring, and challenging, and through Picasso, tasks us with evaluating our dreams, passions, actions, and intentions.

"A Weekend with Pablo Picasso" came at a particularly good time for Shawn Michael and I. As creatives and dreamers, we often need all the encouragement and inspiration we can get to keep on investing in our art, our craft, and the work of our hands.