in association with The Nuffield, Southampton
Picasso and Me
This show has been a voyage of discovery for me into the world of art and art galleries and into a meditation on fathers and sons.
All men are sons and so its perhaps not surprising that at some time this idea should have visited me and this story has unfolded before my eyes in all its joy and pain. I have visited art galleries in Paris, Barcelona and Malaga and found myself drawn to Picassos portraits of his father and of his sons. I am particularly struck by the portraits of his sons all of them when they were very small. He never painted portraits of Paulo or Claude which shows them growing up they are never more than 4 years old! And the portraits of his father show a melancholy figure so weary so tired of life! He painted his father many times even when he painted his uncle he painted his father! Its as if all elderly men are his father!
And as I dwelt on the theme for this play it was like trying to search for a father but also like looking for love. And then one day it happened
in an art gallery in Edinburgh. I fell in love with a painting by the Scottish artist, Dorothy Stirling, and I bought it. I see it every day and I cant imagine my home without it! But I couldnt begin to tell you about it. Youve just got to see it!
Writing about things you see, like writing about things you hear, is not as straightforward as writing about things you read or conversations youve had or imagined. We did a show in 2003 called, Mahler: Song & Dance Man in which we explored the music of the great composer. Our musical director, Karen Wimhurst, could, at least, go to the original scores to get started. But on this occasion Karen and I had looked at paintings in silence no words no music and weve come up with something dark. Its not without humour but I think its got what the Spanish call duende what some people might call soul. And I do believe it responds to that quality in Picassos art.
There is a vast literature on the subject of Picassos women much of it very unflattering to the artist. Picasso was undoubtedly one of the greatest artists who ever lived and to be a son of such a great man is certainly not easy but then being a son is probably never easy. Neither is being a father.
And the search for a father, like the search for love, is a never-ending story.