What is A Serious Banquet? in 1908, a 26-year old Pablo Picasso bought a painting at a garage sale. It was being sold for the cost of the canvas, with the idea that it was so worthless, the buyer could at least paint over it to reuse the canvas. But Picasso liked it. So much that he tracked down the painter, Henri Rousseau (at the time, a 64-year old retired Toll Collector), and designed a dinner party in his honor. This party grew into legend. Who was there? Gertrude Stein, of course, and her lover Alice B Toklas. Picasso girlfriend and oft-muse Fernande Olivier, the poet Andre Salmon, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, a very, very drunk Marie Laurencin, Picasso's best buddy George Braque... pretty much some of history's most brilliant artists, gathered in a room, celebrating being young ('cept Rousseau...) and drunk and poor and loving every minute of it.
A Serious Banquet is a love letter to that party, it's a restaging but not a reenactment - part immersive theater, part dinner party, part the experience of being dropped into a piece of cubist art. I like to think that I co-authored this script with Pablo, George, Andre, and Gertrude. Well, and the rest of the team, of course.
And what a team we had. So many amazing actors, one hell of a directorial consultant and the baddest ass sound designer who created this cubist party. It was a total blast, and I couldn't be prouder of the Serious Banquet we created. Up next for this show: a full staging, probably in June! Please join us then!
It was an intense week, but we culminated with a very successful showing at New York Theatre Workshop tonight! Tomorrow, day off, then Wednesday we start the Pool Play!