Picasso's Artful Occupation at Barons Court Theatre
Penny Flood admires Ian Buckley's imaginative play set in 1940
What do you do when your lifeís work is threatened? How far will you go to save it?
These are the questions facing Picasso in 1940 in occupied France in this new play by Ian Buckley. Itís based on an actual event when in September of that year he was visited by two young German officers in the vaults of the bank where he stored his work.
At that time Picasso was
the most famous artist in the world, an exhibition in Munich in 1937
attracted more than two million people, but for the Germans his art was
considered degenerate, likely to corrupt the Aryan spirit and weaken the
Aryan race. His work was threatened.
This play is about is what Buckley imagines might have happened.
As the two young officers rummage through his work, sneering at some of his finest pieces, Picasso hatches a plot to get them out of his hair and keep his precious artwork safe. He senses their weaknesses and plays on them.
Itís a clever idea with a sharply written script brought
to life with some stunning performances. Full marks to the three protagonists
- Gary Heron as Picasso; David OíConnor as the bullying, but not as sure of
himself as he makes out, Officer Franz Hebbel and Roberto Landi
as the nervous Officer Willi Frisch, who
appreciates Picassoís work and even considers buying a piece.
Picasso's Artful Occupation continues at Barons Court
Theatre until March 30.
March 13, 2014