THEATER REVIEW: “A Weekend With Pablo Picasso” at San Diego Rep | VIDEO

He rages, dances, takes a bath, admonishes, philosophizes, scolds – and paints, right in front of you.

It’s Pablo Picasso, or rather Herbert Siguenza playing him in “A Weekend With Pablo Picasso,” the show he created and workshopped at San Diego Repertory Theatre some three years ago.

Now, after playing the master in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Houston and Denver, the Rep’s Artist in Residence returns with the finished product. It’s every bit as captivating as it was three years ago.

Siguenza portrays the master in 1957, at the age of 76, confronting the challenge of producing six canvases and three vases in one weekend for a wealthy buyer.

It’s a perfect fit. Siguenza, founding member of the Los Angeles comedy troupe Culture Clash, is an artist in his own right who at seven told his mother he wanted to be Picasso. “Who’s this old man with no shirt on, being so free?” he asked. “I want to be like that.”

This “weekend” isn’t about Picasso’s life or legacy or even his legendary affairs. It’s about his creative process and how he approached a canvas.

He roams the studio in shorts and sandals, lighting up a Gauloise, making coffee, finally staring at “the most terrifying thing for a painter: a blank canvas.”

Finally he says, “To know what you want to paint, you must begin painting it.” (I say something similar to myself when I sit down in front of a blank page to write.)

He takes a brush, makes a few broad strokes, then seems to change his mind and go in a different artistic direction. “I start with something, then it becomes something else,” he explains.

While he paints, he offers opinions on politics, women, fame and more, offering this definition of “a perfect Sunday: mass in the morning, a bullfight in the afternoon, a whorehouse in the evening.”

“A Weekend With Pablo Picasso” is an utterly engaging portrait of an artist at work. That this is arguably the most important artist of the last century – and a fascinating character – only adds to the show’s appeal. Don’t miss it.

The details

“A Weekend with Pablo Picasso” has been extended through Oct. 13 at San Diego Repertory’s Space Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown.

Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 pm; Thursday and Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at 2 and 8 pm; Sunday at 2 and 7 pm.

Tickets: (619) 544-1000 or HERE.

To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.