Why did Pablo Picasso choose a moody, monochromatic blue palette as he began his famous career? This new, creative production by Writer and Director Tanaquil Márquez will tell how and why Picasso’s Blue Period evolved. Presented by Yajaira Paredes Productions and La Fábrica Theater as part of Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center’s Latin Series, the show incorporates the music and culture of Picasso’s Latin roots.
“Azul”, the Spanish word for blue, shows the young painter at a short, crucial point in his life, 1900 to 1904, while in Barcelona and Paris. It interweaves flamenco music and dance with stunning imagery to create a dramatic canvas of Picasso’s thoughts, doubts, actions and torments that drove him to paint primarily in somber shades of blue. Márquez was inspired by “La Vie”, perhaps the pinnacle of Picasso’s Blue Period, a six foot tall painting owned by the Cleveland Museum of Art. The young playwright brings this and other pictures to life onstage, recalling Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George”, with passion and sensitivity.
Audience members who attended “Carmen” at Uptown! in the fall will recall the mesmerizing solo Flamenco performance of Liliana Ruiz. In “Azul” she dances in Flamenco and more, along with other cast members, to move the story forward. Additional talented actors portray Picasso and his contemporaries in this imaginative play with staging that includes traditional Latin costuming juxtaposed to contemporary blue body paint. True to its mission to present strong and bold Spanish-English productions, Philadelphia’s first bilingual theater company, La Fábrica, was co-founded by “Azul’s” Director, Tanaquil Márquez. Her talents as an emerging playwright and director are clearly evident in this show.
The Latin Program at Uptown! promotes Latin culture in West Chester and neighboring communities through live theater, dance and music performances. In collaboration with Yajaira Paredes Productions, both Spanish and Non-Spanish speakers enjoy professional Latin entertainment on Uptown!s stage with state-of-the-art sound and lighting. “Azul” is expected to captivate audiences with interests in theater, dance and Latin culture as well as visual art and art history. Originally scheduled at a later start time, producers rescheduled at the request of ticket buyers. The single performance of “Azul” is Sunday, March 18 at 3:00PM.