Picasso at the Lapin Agile by Steve Martin
Director/Set Designer, Towne Centre Theatre

Picasso at the Lapin Agile was the first full-length play written by Steve Martin, renowned comedian and film star. While it was written specifically in the 1990’s with the turn of the century in mind, it is a play that still contains themes and ideas that are relevant in any time period. I believe that one of the most prevalent of these are the Power of Ideas and the Beauty of Creation. In the words of Pablo Picasso, “Everything you can imagine is real.”

In this Parisian bar, a couple of young geniuses debate whose ideas are more beautiful and more powerful, the artistic or the scientific. What they find, and what I believe to be true, is that regardless of the field it happens in, an Act of Creation is in and of itself Beautiful. As Einstein would put it, every single new idea that occurs alters the course of our entire reality. Not in massive chunks, mind you, but curving slowly and steadily over time. It is all connected. We are all connected. And the beauty of this play is that we get to see the early stages of some of the curves that have helped shape today’s reality. We get to experience these ideas exploding forth from these young men and going out into the universe. As it is said in the play, “This is the night the earth fell quiet and listened to a conversation.” And I believe that it is a conversation worth listening to.

photo credit Sarah Johnson

 

The Libation Bearers from The Oresteia by Aeschylus
Director/Designer, Lipscomb University Advanced Directing

The story that I wanted to tell through this piece was one of personal sacrifice in order to achieve a greater good. I believe this story is significant today because in today’s society, people are only concerned with self. I wanted to show that doing something that is hard for you in order to achieve something greater can cause significant change. The scene I chose resonated with me because it contained a moment of huge sacrifice – a son killing his mother in order for Justice to be served. My concept for this piece was that Justice is a cleansing fire – it may destroy all old conventions and even cause destruction and pain, but it is necessary to make room for new growth and for society to move forward to something better.

photo credit Sarah Johnson

 

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Director/Designer, Lipscomb University Beginning Directing

When I first read this play, I was struck by how powerful the choices we make are. And that doesn’t even mean the choices that others make that affect us, but the ones that we make in regard to how we feel about ourselves. Even though God is all-powerful and all-knowing and longs for us to have a relationship with Him, He created us with free will so that when we make that choice, it will even more significant. I realized that all of our lives are like the courtroom in this play, and that the verdict of the jury (whoever that may be) doesn’t matter, positive or negative. Like Judas, whether the jury says we are guilty or not, it is ultimately up to us whether or not we are willing to acknowledge that we are worthy of accepting God’s love and forgiveness that are always there, waiting for us. It is not our job to judge whether or not we are fit to be a part of God’s kingdom, it is only our job to accept the invitation.

photo credit Kenn Stilger