CaltechLive! presents the film adaptation of Herbert Sigüenza's solo show A Weekend with Pablo Picasso for on-demand viewing beginning March 6 through April 4. Written and performed by Sigüenza, the one-man show on which this film is based has played to sold-out crowds across the nation. It was produced by San Diego Repertory Theatre.
CaltechLive! hosts two free live talk-backs with Sigüenza, the first on Saturday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m., and the second on Sunday, March 28 at 3 p.m. PST.
Tickets and more information about the film are available now at events.caltech.edu/picasso
"Even though many audiences have a long history with Sigüenza from his work with the satirical Latinx performance group Culture Clash, A Weekend with Pablo Picasso will be a revelation," says Michael Alexander, director of public programming at Caltech. "Sigüenza's fine acting and painting skills are on full display as he masterfully captures both Picasso's free-spirit character and painting style right before our eyes."
Picasso was the first rock star artist—a ferocious pacifist, obsessive art maker, flamboyantly opinionated philosopher, and self-proclaimed clown—who relished expounding his passionate views about love, death, war, beauty, eternity, and creativity. Sigüenza creates a joyful and mesmerizing portrait of the maestro as he dances, sculpts, shares secrets, clowns, draws, and impersonates a matador while he embodies the father of modern art.
With amazing skill, Sigüenza draws and paints in real time during his performance as he takes the audience back to 1957 to spend three days with the genius inside his private studio on the southern coast of France for an unforgettable weekend. Sigüenza stitched together his masterful script from Picasso's own writings.
"Anyone expecting a politely informative docudrama from Herbert Sigüenza's one-man show A Weekend With Pablo Picasso is in for a shock—in the best possible way," wrote Los Angeles Times' theater critic Philip Brandes during its original run. "Sigüenza turns in an assured, charismatic and well-researched performance as the complicated Spanish expatriate who became the most influential artist of the 20th century.
"Sigüenza's secret weapon, however, is his talent as a painter in his own right. A lifelong admiration for Picasso led him to create the show, and his ability to paint credibly in his hero's style makes for a visual tour de force as the artworks come to life."
In 2010, Herbert Sigüenza wrote this original play and starred as Pablo Picasso. San Diego REP hosted a three-week workshop that quickly became a sensation, playing at sold-out houses across the nation.
The film adaptation was directed by Tim Powell and San Diego REP associate artistic director Todd Salovey.
A stellar success. Anyone expecting a politely informative docudrama from Herbert Sigüenza's one-man show A Weekend With Pablo Picasso is in for a shock—in the best possible way. Sigüenza turns in an assured, charismatic and well-researched performance as the complicated Spanish expatriate who became the most influential artist of the 20th century. Sigüenza's secret weapon, however, is his talent as a painter in his own right. A lifelong admiration for Picasso led him to create the show, and his ability to paint credibly in his hero's style makes for a visual tour de force as the artworks come to life.
ABOUT HERBERT SIGÜENZA
Herbert Sigüenza is best known for co-founding the theater performance group Culture Clash, which has been active for 36 years since its start in 1984. He is currently the playwright-in-residence at San Diego REP and has continued to pursue many solo ventures in addition to his group work.
Sigüenza was born in San Francisco, California, in 1959. Of Salvadoran descent, he spent a portion of his life living in El Salvador with his family before returning to California as a teenager due to civil unrest taking place in the country at the time.
He was originally trained as an artist and print maker, attending California College of Arts and Crafts after returning from El Salvador. He served for 10 years as the art director at La Raza Silkscreen Center La Raza Graphics in San Francisco. From there, he moved into performing arts and became involved with Teatro Gusto, performing in places like the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.
Sigüenza began his acting career in 1984 when he co-founded Culture Clash with Ric Salinas, Richard Montoya, José Antonio Burciaga, Marga Gómez, and Monica Palacios. Together, the group toured the country performing Chicano theater with social commentary through the use of satire. Sigüenza, Salinas, and Montoya still perform together today.
In addition to A Weekend with Pablo Picasso, Sigüenza wrote and performed ¡Cantinflas! about the Mexican comic, co-commissioned by the Alley Theatre in Houston and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
Other work includes Steal Heaven and El Henry (winner Best New Play San Diego Critics Circle), an adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV presented at the La Jolla Playhouse in June 2014, and Manifest Destinitis, which premiered at the San Diego REP during its 2016–2017 season. In 2016, Sigüenza began a three-year playwright residency at the San Diego REP as a part of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's National Playwright Residency Program, administered by HowlRound.
Sigüenza served as a cultural consultant to Disney/Pixar's hit animated film Coco, ensuring an accurate depiction of the Mexican culture that it explores. He is also voiced the great-great-granduncles, Tío Felipe and Tío Oscar.
He is currently working on writing Birthday, a dark musical centered around deceased people coming back to life for 24 hours on their birthdays. This show is a departure from his previous work in its macabre content matter.
Touching and provocative. … A thoroughly engaging portrait of boundless genius in a flawed man. The artist as an eternal Pan—Peter and the great god in one. Handsomely staged by Todd Salovey.
A Weekend with Pablo Picasso
Written and performed by Herbert Sigüenza
Produced by San Diego REP
The filmed production is directed by Tim Powell and Todd Salovey, with Sam Woodhouse as producer.
The production team includes Chelsea Smith (first assistant director); Catharina Cojulun (first assistant camera); Ashley McFall (gaffer); Evan Rayder (grip and electrician); Matt Lescault-Wood (sound mixer and recordist); Anastasia Pautova (art director and costumes/props); Sammy Moore (set design and art department lead); Kate Reynolds (location scout); and Kim Heil (associate producer).
A Weekend with Pablo Picasso was filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, San Diego REP followed strict public health guidelines and protocol related to filmmaking during the COVID-19 pandemic. This protocol included wearing masks, social distancing, multiple testing of all participants, repeated sanitation of all materials, and more. For the production, Cindy Tran, RN, served as the health safety supervisor and Sarah Zimmerman as the health safety manager.
Sigüenza so marvelously inhabits the master that if you squinted a little you could almost believe you really were in the presence of the great Picasso. The film [version] is excellently, seamlessly directed by longtime Sigüenza collaborator Todd Salovey, associate artistic director at the San Diego REP, and filmmaker Tim Powell. Like so much of our theater consumption in these pandemic days, it's the next best thing to being there.
ABOUT CALTECH PUBLIC PROGRAMMING
For more than 50 years, Caltech Public Programming has welcomed world-class artists, renowned scientists, and esteemed speakers to campus, striving to make the arts and sciences accessible, entertaining, and inspiring through a variety of lectures, events, and performances.
Caltech Public Programming offers a slate of robust online programs and live events that are as varied as the communities it serves. Its flagship performing arts program, CaltechLive!, has presented renowned international and local artists, serving as an important Southern California cultural center since 1964.
About the CaltechLive! 2020–2021 Season
In a season unlike any other, CaltechLive! presents curated opportunities that allow for audiences to interact with and enjoy world-class artists and performances from their homes. Created as a response to the Safer at Home policies enacted in March 2020, this digital approach continues the more than 50-year tradition at CaltechLive! of presenting a diverse offering of music, dance, and theater from countries and cultures across the globe.
Top image: Herbert Sigüenza (left) and Pablo Picasso (right)
A Weekend with Pablo Picasso screens on demand through April 4.