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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

March 15, 2009

The Magical Set For Picasso At The Lapin Agile by Julian Wiles, Co-Set Designer and Director for Picasso at the Lapin Agile

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 6:09 pm

Resident designer Stefanie Christensen and I had a lot of fun with this set.   The Lapin Agile is a real bar in Paris and Picasso himself actually painted a picture of the interior that we worked off of when designing our set.  This gave us a starting point.  Stefanie recreated the actual sign that hangs outside the real Lapin Agile on the front door for our production.  Overall, however, we were not trying to reproduce the real Lapin Agile in Paris.   More than anything we wanted to be theatrical with this set.  To begin with, we decided to paint a star studded floor which Stefanie executed beautifully.  We also got lucky since a movie being shot in Charleston (Dear John) had just wrapped and, as they left town, they donated some of their props to us including the terrific bar which Stefanie incorporated into the set.  While Stefanie worked on the set itself I busied myself working on the projections which play a crucial part in our production.  I scoured the internet for images to use, but found that most of web images were too low in resolution to be blown up 12 feet high.  This sent me to the library to search for iconic images of art and science of the 20th century.  These were scanned and incorporated into iMovie and Keynote (Apple’s version of Powerpoint) to create the dozens of images used for the production.  Overall, Stefanie and I wanted the set to be as playful as Steve Martin was in creating this wild and crazy play.  With neon lights, stars appearing in the sky, a falling roof, and a blast of smoke for the mysterious visitor that appears later in the play, we sought to pull out the stops but to do so in a way that still served the play.  Audiences seemed to be delighted with the whimsy of this set and of course we’re delighted with their delight.



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