© 2017 by Ian Buckley

Extract from Picasso's Artful Occupation

RedNeedle Productions presents Realife TV

Written & produced by Ian Buckley

For reading AWL:
Picasso - Peter Mair
Hebbel - Joshua Le Touzel
Frisch - Neil Herriot

For Showcase Old Red Lion:
Picasso - Jeremy Wilkin
Hebbel - Clive Ward
Frisch - Joshua Le Touzel

PLOT SYNOPSIS:
1940 - the German army gains control of France. All valuables in Paris banks are to be inventoried. Picasso hurries to have his works listed. Exactly how much hangs in the balance as Picasso engages with two German Officers to put a price on his works?

CAST:
Pablo PICASSO............60
Officer HEBBEL...........26 - low-ranking officer in German army of occupation, Paris 194O
Officer FRISCH............25 - same grade officer as Hebbel


EXTRACT:
In this scene Picasso begins to discover and exploit the differences between the two German officers who've been assigned to inventory his works

Place: a vault of the Banque Nationale Pour Le Commerce et L'Industrie, Paris, 1940


PICASSO: D’you know the market here in Paris?

HEBBEL: I know it more than a bit.

PICASSO: So if you know, tell me - what sells?

HEBBEL NO IDEA

HEBBEL: Well um...the Impressionists?

PICASSO: Herr Frisch?

FRISCH: The Pointillists? Gouachists? (PICASSO NODS NO) ...Surrealists...cubists... modernists...? (PICASSO NODS NO) ...primitivists...new realists?

PICASSO: I'll tell you what. Photos! You know, point and pop. Smile please. I don't know why artists don't smash up their palettes and buy cameras - that's what the public wants. So, I’ve given you a price based on this cultural fact. It’s low but it’s realistic.

FRISCH: I’m sure I’ve got these wrong. What came after the ‘Torn Up Newspapers’?

PICASSO: ‘Guitar With Bits’, wasn’t it?

PICASSO PULLS OUT ANOTHER PAINTING. LOTS OF GRUNTS WITH THE EFFORT. FRISCH NOTES TITLE

FRISCH: That’s touching. The way they’re holding each other.

PICASSO: They’re in love.

HEBBEL: Why're their feet so big? Have they got a disease?

PICASSO: Only in being different.

FRISCH: I can see this painting displayed in galleries in Germany.

HEBBEL: Their feet would stick out.

FRISCH: I'm not looking at their feet!

HEBBEL: You don’t have to. They hit you in the eye!

FRISCH: The only reason you might have for painting these wonderful young people more in proportion, monsieur, would be to win over people who were ignorant about art.

PICASSO: In proportion how?

HEBBEL: He means smaller feet and bigger tits, don't you Willi!

FRISCH: No I don’t!

HEBBEL: Yes you do!

FRISCH: You've got no idea about art have you Franz.

HEBBEL: You've got no idea about women.

FRISCH: I’ve got as much idea as you.

HEBBEL: When you're ready Monsieur Picasso.

FRISCH: What d’you mean by that remark anyway?

HEBBEL: Nothing.

FRISCH: Tell me or so help me I'll...

HEBBEL: You’ll what?

FRISCH: I think you know what.

HEBBEL: Alright, keep your hair on. It was a joke for god sake.

FRISCH: I’m waiting.

HEBBEL: All I meant was you don't exactly get on with women.

FRISCH: Says who?

HEBBEL: ...The women I try to fix you up with.

FRISCH: They’re not my type.

HEBBEL: Um...the blokes...in the unit think you're a bit...

FRISCH: You mean I don't crack jokes about the size of women's tits?

HEBBEL: Which most men do.

FRISCH: Shame on them then, if they can't raise their sights above the end of their privates.

HEBBEL: Shame on men who raise theirs to forbidden fruits.

FRISCH: I don't know what you’re talking about Franz but you’d...well you’d better watch yourself.

HEBBEL: So what sort of women d'you like Willi?

FRISCH: Well...I...athletic women.

HEBBEL: I'd shag an athlete any day.

FRISCH: You have to lower everything to sex don’t you.

HEBBEL: You were thinking of running a race talking politics were you?

FRISCH: ...Have you been to Germany Mr Picasso?

PICASSO: I’m waiting to be invited.

FRISCH: You get posters on every street. Young people staring proudly into the distance.

HEBBEL: Yeah...lots of people staring proudly
into the distance in Germany. None of them
have spots or beer bellies...

FRISCH: That’s because it’s the job of the artist to show us how we CAN be. Not how we are.

HEBBEL: Who says?

FRISCH: Anyone who knows the slightest thing about
painting and its relationship to...(HE STOPS)

PICASSO WORKS A NEW PICTURE OUT OF ITS ROW. HE IS VERY AWARE OF THE BICKERING BETWEEN FRISCH AND HEBBEL

HEBBEL: Willi used to paint didn't you? Back in the old days.

FRISCH: We’re talking about art, not me.

HEBBEL: Young men I believe.

FRISCH: Can we get on with the job?

HEBBEL: I know because we come from the same town don't we Willi? Same school even. He was the best artist by a mile. Loved painting men didn’t you. Young men...in swimming trunks...?

FRISCH: Artists do occasionally draw the human body eh Monsieur Picasso?

PICASSO: The human body is central.

HEBBEL: I thought it was women they drew.

PICASSO: I concentrate on women myself. They excite me more.

HEBBEL: Maybe you draw the occasional man?

PICASSO: Not often.

FRISCH: What does it matter if it’s a man or a woman?

PICASSO: It matters a lot to me because it's what inspires me. Women always have.

HEBBEL: There Willi. Now you’ve been told.

FRISCH: Every artist is different.

HEBBEL: D'you think an artist should stand by his work Monsieur Picasso? That he’s done in the past?

FRISCH: So you can make fun of him?

HEBBEL: You took the piss out of me - making out I’m ignorant about art.

FRISCH: I hardly think you qualify as an expert Franz.

PICASSO: D’you still draw Monsieur Frisch?

FRISCH: I don’t have time.

PICASSO: That’s a shame...when someone starts and then stops.

HEBBEL: Hasn’t for months have you Willi. Got rid of everything. Destroyed the lot. Poof! (CLICKS FINGERS) All that art, all gone. Don't you think that's a pity Monsieur Picasso?

FRISCH: It’s nothing to do with Monsieur Picasso.

HEBBEL: I just wondered what he thought...

FRISCH: Fod god sake can we get on! We’ve been here ages and we’ve hardly started!

HEBBEL: Don’t you want monsieur to say?

FRISCH: It’s not that I don’t want him to...

HEBBEL: Can’t be bothered to hear what a great artist has to say.

FRISCH: Can we speed up. All this useless chat.

HEBBEL: Don't look at me. I’m waiting for a title for this lovely work. (MOVES BACK TO PAINTING)

PICASSO: 'The Lovers'.

HEBBEL: Price?

PICASSO: A hundred.

PICASSO TRIES TO PUSH THE PAINTING BACK INTO A GAP IT DOESN’T WANT TO GO INTO

Get in there, sod you!

HEBBEL: Noted Willi?

FRISCH: I...liked that painting.

HEBBEL: Can we speed up!

FRISCH: ...It's difficult to make suggestions to a famous artist. But their feet...I’m convinced...they’d have a wider appeal if they were smaller...

PICASSO: Smaller feet...it’s noted.


END OF EXTRACT

ARTFUL OCCUPATION - Script in hand reading at Actors and Writers of London then showcased, Old Red Lion, March 2005. Directed Harry Saks, both occasions. 60 mins | 3M