Ohio native Jeffrey Hatcher’s riveting drama is set in 1941 Paris during the German occupation. While leaving his favorite cafe, Pablo Picasso–the world’s most renowned artist–has been picked up by two mysterious men in trench coats and taken to an unknown destination, a basement room, where he is left alone to await his Nazi interrogator. Is his life in danger? Ever since he painted his powerful masterpiece, Guernica, in 1937, the Germans have kept a wary eye on him.
Picasso, who is a well-known womanizer, is surprised when this interrogator proves to be a young woman, a Miss Fischer. But any thought he might have of charming his way out of this situation is quickly dispelled when he discovers that Miss Fischer is every bit his match. What follows is a potentially deadly game of cat-and-mouse as Picasso tries to unravel the mystery of why he is being questioned and what the woman is not telling him.
“Jeffrey Hatcher’s nifty A Picasso … is a sort of heady cousin to Casablanca and a fine date night for grown-ups….One of the pleasures of A Picasso is that, as always, Hatcher is a master of clever dialogue. He sets up the battleground and Picasso and [Miss] Fischer spend the better part of 85 intermission-less minutes verbally dueling….They jab at each other over art and politics with an intelligence that would sit well on the lips of Tracy and Hepburn or Powell and Loy…. taut and provocative” (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Art and the Nazis
Adolf Hitler and his Deputy Hermann Goering, as well as their propaganda minister Dr. Joseph Goebbels, confiscated famous art works from Jews and conquered countries. The location of many of these works of art is unknown to this day, but even recently certain artworks have surfaced and been returned to the families of the original owners.
But the Nazis were not fond of modern art, almost all of which they labeled as “Degenerate Art.” In 1937, they put together an exhibit of degenerate art which toured Germany and Austria in order to show true Germans what kind of art was verboten.
On March 20, 1939, more than 5,000 works of so-called “degenerate art” are alleged to have been burned by Nazis in the courtyard of the “Old Fire Station” in Berlin.
“well-written…. By the time A Picasso reaches its sneaky climax, you will feel as if you have time-travelled back to war torn Paris too…. Four stars” (Calgary Herald)
During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), right-wing General Francisco Franco appealed for help from Hitler in defeating the Republican armies then winning. In an experiment to determine what it would take to completely destroy a town, the Nazi’s bombed the sleepy market town of Guernica. The town was completely destroyed and an estimated 1650 people died. The world was shocked at the atrocity, which Picasso captured in his 1937 mural-sized painting, Guernica–today one of the masterpieces of 20th century art. Needless to say, the Nazis were not happy with Picasso for this reminder of what they were capable of.
“an intense psychological struggle between two strong and implacable characters….The argument over the role of art in the face of political evil, is woven into a seductive dance between a notorious womanizer and a confident woman. Hatcher is a skilled playwright…. an excellent piece of serious theater that deserves a good audience.” (The Newtown Bee)