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BWW Review: A PICASSO at Out Of Pocket Productions

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In occupied Paris, 1941, Pablo Picasso (David Munnell) has been summoned from his favorite cafe and taken to a storage vault for an interrogation.

BWW Review: A PICASSO at Out Of Pocket Productions

Out of Pocket Productions is joining other Rochester theatres in opening their doors for in-person performances once again after the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to go dark for 18 months. For OOPP's first foray back into live theatre they've chosen "A Picasso", a modest two-person play by Jeffrey Hatcher dealing with the importance and timelessness of art.

In occupied Paris, 1941, Pablo Picasso (David Munnell) has been summoned from his favorite cafe and taken to a storage vault for an interrogation by Miss Fischer (Tracey Ulterino), a cultural attache from Berlin. She has been ordered to authenticate three Picasso paintings recently confiscated by the Nazis from their Jewish owners; the Nazi Ministry of Propaganda has planned an exhibition to burn "degenerate art." Picasso engages Fischer in a desperate negotiation to save his work while the pair discuss art, politics, sex, and truth.

OOPP's "A Picasso" is the perfect pairing of play and performance space, as the MuCCC is ideal for small theatre pieces and shows with one-or-two person casts. Director Brad Craddock and the show's production team do an excellent job of cultivating an intimate atmosphere in which the audience truly feel like they are sitting in an interrogation room along with the two performers as they spar over everything from sex, to politics, to the weightiness of art. Munnell is outstanding as Picasso, capturing the artist's ego and many eccentricities but also his reverence for his art and the way in which he cherishes the creative process. While Ulterino's performance sometimes errs too heavily on the flamboyant side (a wild stage slap comes to mind), she plays the role of German inquisitor quite well.

"A Picasso" is a thoughtful and engaging play that explores the role that art plays in our lives. It's playing at the Multi-Use Community Cultural Center (MuCCC) until November 13th, for tickets and more information click here.


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From This Author Colin Fleming-Stumpf