BWW Interview: Actor Joseph Castillo-Midyett Talks PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE

BWW Interview: Actor Joseph Castillo-Midyett Talks PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE
Joseph Castillo-Midyett as Pablo Picasso
in The Alley Theatre's
PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE.
Photo credit: Lynn Lane

Actor Joseph Castillo-Midyett talked to BroadwayWorld about The Alley Theatre production of PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE, a production that BroadwayWorld reviewer Gary Laird calls a "laff riot." Read the conversation below.


When you're watching a silly comedy, especially in theater where there is no rewind button, it is easy to miss the cleverness of the writing. Can you give an idea of the references, big questions, and big ideas that will help audiences enjoy the play on a deeper level?

The play taps into genius and our own varying degrees of it. It also plays with the future and our expectations. And while we do laugh, it is rooted in something very poignant.

PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE is an ensemble work. Did you and your cast mates participate in any team building exercises? How did you cultivate a strong collaborative relationship?

No, we didn't. The Alley has such a strong core of actors that are both creatively and technically gifted, so everyone was speaking the same language and we just jumped right into the deep end of the pool. It's so so so very rare. And speaks very highly to the abilities of the actors, and of the workplace the new leadership is creating.

Though it's an ensemble work, you're still one of the title characters. So I'd like to talk about your individual process. What did you look to when building your character? What acting techniques, research materials, and art forms inspired and informed you?

Like anything else, if it's not in the script I can't do much. In this case, the rhythms, cadence, word choice, timing, are all so heavily influenced by Steve Martin. It's closer to playing music. That is the beautiful cage, but inside of the cage are infinite possibilities. So that would be closer to working outside in. Then I borrowed heavily from my father, who is larger-than-life and feels deeply.

Steve Martin purportedly said of the play that it attempts to explain "the similarity of the creative process involved in great leaps of imagination in art and science." Did you find that to be true in your own work?

Yes. Absolutely. That is the spine of the play and from it springs loose the twists and turns, the up's and down's and without that theme, aka argument, constantly being juggled in the air, the play turns into vignettes that have nothing to do with anything.

Back to the play, what makes the Alley's PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE a unique production? What will audiences experience that they won't at another show?

That question is often asked of many productions of anything. What makes it so good or unique is ephemeral. You can't put your finger on it. There are so many things great about it from the acting, the production value, the costumes, the way it all came together, all those things add to the greatness and uniqueness of this project. But what makes it truly unique is we were successful at it. How many projects have all these things combined and still don't happen?

PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE runs through June 3 at the Alley's Hubbard Theatre.

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