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THEATER CHATTER

Picasso's Paris

By now everybody knows, or has probably guessed, that the central comic device of Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," at the Studio Arena Theatre through Oct. 8, is pure fiction. Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein never did meet at the Montmartre cabaret in 1904, as the play has it. The young physicist was in Zurich at the time, about to release his Special Theory of Relativity. The real Picasso did frequent the Lapin Agile but his life was hardly that of the carefree bohemian. He lived and worked in Bateau-Lavoir - the "washing boat" - a decrepit building in Montmartre with no gas, no electricity and a single water faucet to serve 30 studios. The neighborhood was filled with beggars, prostitutes and assorted lowlife willing to take your life for a few francs. Picasso painted at night by kerosene lamp in a sparsely furnished studio called "the maid's room." One of the first paintings he did upon moving in in 1904 was "Woman with Crow." He was inspired by a crow that he saw hopping from table to table at the Lapin Agile. The woman in the painting is said to be Margot, the daughter-in-law of Frede, the Freddy of the play.

Bad business

In the musical "Dear World" an eccentric group of friends living in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century attempts to rescue the city from a gigantic corporation bound to cast evil upon the world. Based on Jean Giraudoux's "The Madwoman of Chaillot," the musical comes with a score by one of the biggest, Jerry Herman ("Mame" and "Hello Dolly"). Niagara University Theatre's production of "Dear World" begins with a preview at 7:30 on Thursday night and continues through Oct. 15. The production will be in the main campus' Leary Theatre. For tickets call 286-8622.

Bamboo bamboozle

To create the huge bamboo tree house for Theatre of Youth's current production of "Swiss Family Robinson" (through Oct.), TOY designer Ken Shaw used a system of pipes and clamps purchased from Buffalo Manufacturer Kee Industrial Products. After construction, the steel and iron assemblage was given its convincing bamboo look by an ingenious paint job by Shaw and his crew.

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