Picasso, Probably

Young Pablo by Pablo

I just realized that I have only a little over a month to learn a whole lot of lines for a performance! I had better be cracking (by before now).

“Whassup?” you ask. (Never let it be said that Wakdjunkagaʼs Blog is not at the uncutting pointless of contemporary unculture. Or: I never thought I would ever even humorously use that godawful locution, but I did, and it made me chuckle… at the Bud Light-swilling mobile vulgus who wrongly think itʼs a useful bit of novelty argot.)

So what is up?

Me portraying Pablo Picasso (the old version) at the Dubuque Museum of Art late in October, the latest performance in the museumʼs Famous Dead Artists Lecture Series. What can I say? The museum administration must have realized that it takes a genius to play a genius. (And thatʼs a joke, sadly like your shambling excuse for an author/actor here.)

Yes, I am truthfully going to personate Picasso in an Inside the Actors Studio-like unlive interview (because theyʼre Dead Artists, right?) for a teeming crowd of art fans in the Dubuque Museum of Art lobby on October 28.

How ever did this come to be?

Because I was cast as a nutcase in Peace Pipe Playersʼ production of One Flew over the Cuckooʼs Nest last winter. No, bigwigs from the museum didnʼt traipse down to Maquoketa to catch our performances, but one of my compeers in the play did drive down daily for rehearsals (daily when he could make it through the frequent December and January snowstorms, that is), Danny Fairchild. And he had portrayed the young Andy Warhol in a previous Dead Artists Lecture. And when approached about doing the Young Picasso this autumn (unfortunately, he has had to back out due to work complications), he suggested this baldie, your ʼumble author, might possibly, at a real stretch, in a desperate pinch, if the audience were blind and deaf and very inattentive, do the trick for the older version of the Spanish genius of modern art.

the man himself at a certain age…

The museum impresario, Margi Buhr, who writes the annual scripts for this fundraising series, took Danny at his evidently sincere word and contacted me via e-mail about possibly doing the performance, promising a script by late summer for me to read and learn. I checked with Danny, and he was enthusiastic about it. it sounded like fun, although challenging fun. But who isnʼt up for a challenge? So I got the gig.

Margi finished the script (with me receiving an early, almost identical version earlier) early in September, and I put it on the iPod (dictation is a wonderful thing) to memorize, as I had done with my hundreds of Ebenezer Scrooge lines for A Christmas Carol last fall and the fewer utterances I had to get by heart for Cuckooʼs Nest. Now I just have to make sure I actually become word perfect with Pabloʼs genuine words (my answers are mostly taken from things Picasso really said) before the big date. I am thankful, very, that we have rehearsals the week before we perform.

(Meeting with Margi, by the way, was the factor that made The Lovely One and I donate a television to the museum, as I noted earlier. I promised you then that I would explain more later. Now I have.)

Apologies for tooting my own horn today (but whatʼs a blog for if not to promote oneself, however unwillingly). I hope you can tell I am excited. And nervous. It has been a long time since I did acting outside the community theater realm (just as it had been a long time since I had done any acting whatsoever before being offered the Scrooge role a year ago), and I havenʼt acted professionally since… —well, last millennium. And, by the way, looking at the picture to the right (and with most browsers and font sizes, probably above a bit), do you think I can pull off the impersonation? Me neither. But actingʼs all about faking everything and putting it over on the audience.

Well, itʼs back to line recitation for now…

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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