About The Book
Steve Martin is one of America’s treasured comic actors, having appeared in some of the most popular movies of our time. He is also an accomplished screenwriter who has for the past few years turned his attention to writing plays. The results, collected here, demonstrate new facets of the range and talent he possesses on screen. His plays hilariously explore very serious questions about love and happiness and the meaning of life; they are rich with equal parts pain and slapstick humor, torment and wit.
Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Steve Martin’s first full-length play, opened at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater before moving on to Los Angeles (where it was the longest-running show in the history of the Westwood Playhouse) and, finally, to New York. An imagined meeting of Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein in 1904—when both men were in their twenties—it is a compelling examination of science and art and their impact on a rapidly changing society. As the two men engage in a battle of ideas about probability, lust, artistic integrity, and the future, the play moves with ease between the breezy and the profound.
Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays also contains three one-acts, first presented together at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York. WASP depicts an archetypal middle-class white Anglo-Saxon Protestant family trying to live up to the routine of an idealized fifties suburbia. It is a dark and surreal comedy—a broad satire punctuated with insightful and poetic moments of irony. A meditation on the nature of love and loneliness, The Zig-Zag Woman concerns a woman so desperate to find affection that, with the help of a magic trick, she appears to divide her body into three parts. In the final play, Patter for the Falling Lady, a magician plans to levitate his assistant in order to give her what he could not give her when they were together: freedom.
“Steve Martin’s comic wit has never been sharper.”—USA Today
“Steve Martin is the most exciting new playwright in town. . . . His first play is a major treat.”—Newsday
“[Picasso at the Lapin Agile is] a very engaging 75-minute shaggy dog of a comedy . . . Mr. Martin has also created a number of moment of real humor and wit. . . . His manner is to so mix the sublime with the ridiculous that they can’t be easily disentangled.”—Vincent Canby, The New York Times
“Steve Martin is a gifted screenplay writer, and as Picasso demonstrated, a smart, facile thinker with a serious reach.”—Variety
“Picasso at the Lapin Agile is Martin’s poker-faced—and very funny—riff on the birth of the modern century.”—New York
“More laughs, more fun and more delight than anything currently on the New York stage.”—The New York Observer