Art, theater combine at the Currier

MANCHESTER – At 2 p.m. Sunday, theatre KAPOW continues the ARTiculate Playreading Series in partnership with the Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St. The theater company will read Jeffrey Hatcher’s “A Picasso,” in relation to Woman Seated in a Chair (1941) by Pablo Picasso, in the Currier’s permanent collection.

In Paris 1941, Pablo Picasso has been summoned from his favorite cafe by German occupation forces to a storage vault across the city for an interrogation. His questioner: Miss Fischer, a beautiful “cultural attache” from Berlin. Her assignment: Discover which of the three Picasso paintings recently confiscated by the Nazis from their Jewish owners are real. The Ministry of Propaganda has planned an exhibit, and only the great artist himself can attest to their authenticity.

At first, Picasso agrees to her request, confirming the three pictures are indeed his own. But when Fischer reveals the exhibition is actually a burning of “degenerate art,” Picasso becomes desperate to save his work and engages in a pressurized negotiation with the equally determined and wily Fischer, to hold onto two of his precious “children” while consigning the third to the flames.

This cat-and-mouse drama about art, politics, sex and truth has an unexpected twist at its climax.

Picasso’s oil painting Woman Seated in a Chair depicts the distorted, geometricized form of a female figure placed in front of a yellow wooden slat chair. Picasso was living in Paris when he painted this portrait, during the Nazi occupation of the city in World War II, the time depicted in the play. Picasso had expressed his rage and sorrow over the ravages of war, most notably in his Guernica (Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid) of 1937.

The reading of “A Picasso” features tKAPOW regulars Peter Josephson and Carey Cahoon under the direction of Matt Cahoon.

Discussion will be led by Dr. Landis K. Magnuson, professor of theater at Saint Anselm College. The ARTiculate Playreading Series is supported by the New Hampshire Humanities Council.

Admission to the reading and participation in the discussion is free with museum admission ($12 adults, $10 seniors, $9 students). Passes for free admission to the museum may be checked out from more than 90 public libraries across the state. Students, faculty and staff from seven area colleges also receive free admission to the museum. For more information, visit tkapow.com or
currier.org.