Imagine pitting Pablo Picasso (Greg Spielman) against a Nazi Cultural Minister Fischer (Jennifer Meria). She wants his to verify the authenticity of three of his drawings because there is a private exhibit that she wants to feature them in. And by feature she means burn. Thus unfolds the story behind each drawing and whether each one is the real ‘Picasso’ or a fake.
Except it isn’t that simple. Miss Fischer has more going on than just advancing the Nazi values and we’re not entirely sure we’re on Picasso’s side either. So there is a push a pull. A negotiation. A deep and broad discussion of Picasso and his work, being political and the weight of that art has or doesn’t have on politics.
The dialogue and depth is A Picasso is a refreshing change from the skits featured in the festival. It is smart and clever play, steeped in culture. It looks at the value of art within war and the artists behind that art. The narrative keeps together and is intriguing in its premise.
Spielman portrays Picasso very well and the audience eats up his arrogance and talent. Meria is not as strong as the Nazi Cultural Minister as we don’t quite buy it as well and she sometimes falls into the trap of shouting her lines a little too much. But overall, both put forward solid performances.
A Picasso is a smart, though a bit long entry in the Calgary Fringe Festival. There are 5 more chances to catch it. More information is available online.