Artist as catalyst: Suspense hinges on fate of Picasso

Ariel Dorfman's play explores obsession and the effects of totalitarianism on the creative spirit

Theater Review

July 02, 2006|By J. WYNN ROUSUCK | J. WYNN ROUSUCK,SUN THEATER CRITIC

Part portrait of the artist and part political thriller, Ariel Dorfman's Picasso's Closet -- receiving its world premiere at Washington's Theater J -- is primarily a "what if" play.

Dorfman, a playwright exiled from his adopted country of Chile, writes about Pablo Picasso when the Spanish artist was himself in exile, living in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II. Though little is known of him during that period, Picasso survived to live another three decades. But what if the artist had been murdered by the Nazis in 1944? That question is the premise of Dorfman's play.

PICASSO'S CLOSET / / Through July 23 / / Theater J, Washington DC Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St., N.W., Washington / / $15-$40 / / 800-494-TIXS

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