Driftwood Players

"Picasso at the Lapin Agile" Nov. - Dec. 2001

By Steve Martin, Directed by Jane Hansen

From Left: Rick Bates: (Albert Einstein) Katrina Denny: (Suzanne) Gary Morean: (Sagot) Kathy Coverdale: (Germaine) Dave Foscue: (Freddy) Ed Logue: (Gaston)

Rick Bates, Ron Rogers (Charles Dabernow Schmendiman) Ed Logue


Rick Bates, Dave Foscue, Kathy Coverdale


Dave Foscue, Kathy Coverdale


Rick Bates, Jason Whited (Visitor/Singer) Steve Natwick (Pablo Picasso)


Katrina Denny, Steve Natwick

Kathy Coverdale, Steve Natwick

Rick Bates, Ed Logue

Pictures by
Jones Photo Co.

From The Daily World, Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Fascinating characters, cast make new Driftwood play worth seeing

By Jeff Burlingame
Daily World Entertainment Editor

    The Lapin Agile is Paris' version of Cheers, the bar on the TV sitcom of the same name -- a place where everybody knows your name.

    But while the conversation of Norm and Cliff at Cheers tended to the banal, in the play "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," protagonist Pablo Picasso notes that the Parisian cabaret is a place where aspiring artists come to talk about their manifestos.

    The lives and loves of two such dreamers, Picasso (played by Steve Natwick) and Albert Einstein (Rick Bates), weigh heavily in the Driftwood Players' production of the play by comedian and novelist Steve Martin. Both men are on the verge of greatness, in their early 20s and fighting over women.

 Though his acting was well above average, Natwick's best move may have been in accepting the role of Picasso. Playing a swinging artist, he's cast opposite Kathy Coverdale and ravishing Willapa Harbor native Katrina Denny. Coverdale plays the part of a flirtatious waitress well, while Denny -- in the role of a be-smitten maiden -- looks as if she'd fit perfectly on the set of an early-1900s silent film.

    Natwick has romantic inclinations for both. Ironically though, it's Einstein who eventually leaves the bar with the young maiden.

    Between the two events, there's plenty of drama and jokes, with several Driftwood veterans in key roles. Dave Foscue, looking a bit like Dennis the Menace's infamous neighbor, Mr. Wilson, plays the classic joke-telling bartender. Ed Logue plays the hilarious Gaston, who makes several (loudly) announced trips to the restroom (returning from one with a runner of white toilet paper stuck to his shoe).

    Ron Rogers plays a good supporting role of bar patron Charles Dabernow Schmendiman, and Gary Morean does well -- both acting-wise and financially -- as Picassošs swindling art dealer.

    Experienced director Jane Hansen, herself a talented actress and former Driftwood "Best Actress" recipient, did an excellent job of casting, managing to assemble some of Driftwood's best talent in one play.

     There are also some excellent special effects for a community theater. Near the end, there's a surprise visit from the future by Jason Whited, in a surreptitious role he's performed many times before at Willapa Harbor events.

    Though both shows were quality performances, this Driftwood offering differs considerably from the troupe's last production, the children's play, "Youšre A Good Man, Charlie Brown." In that show, an oversized dog house and a wooden bench were about the only props on a nearly bare stage.

     This time around, the set was far more elaborate, albeit with a few out-of-place props. Three wooden bar tables dressed the stage, with two high-back wooden chairs and a bottle of liquor at each. At least one bottle had a computerized bar code on the back label.

    A bar code in 1904 Paris?

    And classic absinthe, nicknamed in French La Fee Verte (The Green Fairy) for its radiant green color and hallucinogenic effects, looks awkward here as a medium-blue liquid.

    Nitpickings aside, the abundance of alcohol at the bar is put to good use in the end, as the entire cast comes together for a group photo and toasts the 20th Century.

    What that photo would be worth today could purchase a small home. One year after the play takes place, Picasso introduced the world to cubism painting with his "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," and Einstein published the "Special Theory of Relativity."

     A decent amount of sexual innuendo and some mild profanity make this one for the younger children to avoid. But no one else should.

    "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" is a slow-paced comedy featuring some of the area's best talent and it's a great way to spend a light-hearted evening.

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