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Picasso with Peter Tate

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History: WORLD PREMIÈRE: Playground Theatre, January 26, 2023
EDINBURGH FRINGE 2023 August 3 - 28, 2023
TOURS: Domestic and Worldwide from Autumn 2023


Picasso: Le Monstre Sacré by Terry d’Alfonso starring Peter Tate will play at Assembly Festival
during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August...

In this 50th anniversary year of Picasso’s death, this play asks how should he be judged?
He was a great great artist... there is no disputing that, however, he left a trail of broken hearts and destroyed lives in his wake while his career flourished. How would he be judged today?

How quickly would be 'cancelled'?

'Le Monstre Sacré' gets to the heart and soul of the man - warts and all - in his own words.
You, the audience, are the jury... You decide

“Painting is not an aesthetic process... It’s a form of magic that interposes itself between us and the hostile universe, a means of seizing power by imposing a form on our terrors as well as on our desires.
The day I understood that I found my path.”
(Pablo Picasso)


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presents THE PLAYGROUND THEATRE production of

PICASSO: Le Monstre Sacré

Original Play by Terry D'Alfonso
Performed by Peter Tate

Adapted & Directed by Guy Masterso


A visceral, uncompromising portrait of Pablo Picasso 50 years after his death…
Undisputed genius, visionary artist, yet Picasso’s obsession often destroyed those he professed to love…. Brilliantly incarnated by Peter Tate, in a challenging, powerful, intelligent study, Picasso passionately defends his reputation. It’s an explosive, deeply passionate voyage of self-revelation, eaving the audience as his jury… Should we condemn or forgive? How do we judge our great artists?

Adapted for solo performance and directed by Olivier Award winner Guy Masterson, Pablo Picasso is brilliantly incarnated by Peter Tate, multi-award winner and Founder/ Artistic Director of The Playground Theatre, London, in an explosive, deeply passionate voyage of self-revelation leaving the audience as his jury.

'Peter Tate was so real, touching and strong, my heart was moved. I was back to Vallauris sixty years ago.' (Sylvette David, Muse to Picasso)

'Visceral, enthralling and exciting! A fascinating portrait.’ (ReviewsHub)
'Witty and fun, yet visceral and uncomfortable!' (The UpComing)
‘Any aspiring actor should see the brilliant performance of Tate in action!’ (Theatre Reviews)
‘Masterson captures his bullish essence through Tate’s convincing performance.’ (Theatre&ArtsReviews)

Download: Tony Boncza PETER TATE - Performer
Peter Tate was trained at Webber Douglas in London and with Stella Adler in New York, where he began his career. Credits there included The Bacchae directed by Michael Cacoyannis, on Broadway and Richard III with the American Shakespeare Company.
He returned to London to play a leading role at The National Theatre opposite Alan Bates. An invitation by the Actors Studio New York, brought him back to the US to play the co-lead, as Prince Felix Yussopov, in Rasputin opposite Peter Stormare, who was then Ingmar Bergman’s leading actor.
More recently played the lead in Tabloid Caligula at the Brits Off-Broadway at 59E59th St. Since then Macbeth, in Poland, with one of Polands top directors, Henryk Baranowski, Amrican Justice at The Arts (West End) Babylone (Coventry Belgrade).
At The Playground Theatre: Picasso: Le Monstre Sacré, Picasso, Paradise Circus, and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice directed by Bill Alexander and One Man written by Peter - which has been invited to Parliament.
Tate has won numerous awards for his stage version of Odd Man Out in Jerusalem, St Petersburg and Wroclaw. The film adaptation of Odd Man Out has garnered Peter numerous best actor awards at international film festivals.
Download: Guy Masterson Headshot

GUY MASTERSON - Adaptor & Director (click for additional biographical material)
After obtaining a Joint Honours degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry from Cardiff University in 1982, Guy studied drama at UCLA's School of Drama and started as an actor in 1985 in Hollywood. He returned to the UK in 1989 to study further at LAMDA. He is an multi-award winning actor, playwright, director, producer, international presente, dramaturge and renowned acting and executive coach.
Following a conventional start in plays, film and television, Guy began solo performing in 1991 with The Boy's Own Story and thence Under Milk Wood in 1994 and Animal Farm in 1995. He first produced/directed in 1993 with Playing Burton participated at the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time in 1994. The following 26 seasons saw his association with many of Edinburgh's most celebrated hits, and his company became EdFringe's most awarded independent theatre producer - garnering 8 Scotsman Fringe Firsts, 3 Herald Angels, 25 Stage Award nominations (including 4 wins) together with numerous lesser awards. Guy also directed two of Edinburgh's biggest grossing dramatic hits: 12 Angry Men - famously starring a cast of well known comedians including Bill Bailey, Dave Johns and Phil Nichol, which then toured Australia and New Zealand - and The Odd Couple (2005) starring Bill Baile and Alan Davies. He also originated One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (2004) starring Christian Slater and Mackenzie Crook which transferred to teh Gielgud Theatre in London's West End and later, The Garrick. His 2009 production of Morecambe transferred to The Duchess Theatre in the West End and won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment (plus another nomination for the actor playing Eric).
At Edinburgh 2014 his epic 30 actor adaptation of Animal Farm produced by Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre of Tbilisi, Georgia, won the Stage Award for Best Ensemble. His production of The Marilyn Conspiracy was due to transfer to London in June 2020 but was postponed by Covid19. Most notably, his 2019 hit, The Shark Is Broken finally opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End in October 2022 and was Olivier Award nominated for Best New Comedy. It since played seven weeks in Toronto, and opened at the John Golden Theatre on Broadway on Augus, 10th 2023.
Most recently, he directed Picasso: Le Monstre Sacré at the Playground Theatre in London, and co-directed the award winning The Marvellous Elephant Man - The Musical at the 2023 Adelaide Fringe Festival, Melboburne International Comedy Festival & Sydney Fringe.
As a performer, he won The Stage Best Actor Award in 2001 for Fern Hill & Other Dylan Thomas and was aslo nominated in 1998 for A Soldier's Song, in 2003 for Best Solo Performance for Under Milk Wood, and again for Shylock in 2011. In 2003, he also received Edinburgh's most prestigious accolade, The Jack Tinker Spirit of the Fringe Award. His most recent solo work, A Christmas Carol, has sold nearly every ticket over 5 festive seasons since it opened in 2017.
His theatrical commitments have largely kept him out of mainstream film and television, however, he made the obligatory appearance on Casualty (Christmas Special 2004) and has been the Franziskaner Monk - the face of the premium German weissbier - since 2007! He also writes plays, screenplays and poetry, is an executive performanc and confidence coach. His passion is to bring great new ideas to life and fresh talent to the stage.
He is married to Brigitta and father to Indigo and Tallulah...

  TERRY D'ALFONSO - Original Playwright - The Loves Of Picasso
Terry D'Alfonso was American of French and Italian descent. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Theatre from Hunter College of the City University of New York and completed graduate courses in Film and Television at New York University. She was Assistant Director to Giorgio Strehler at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, Teatro díEuropa. She remained professionally linked to Strehler for many years and his Teatro Umano (Humane theatre) strongly influenced her work thereafter.
In London she attended a seminar on Film and TV Drama at the BBC where she worked as Assistant Director to Steven Frears (Abel's Will) and Kenneth Ives (The Secret Army) and directed A Dangerous Game based on Friedrich D¸rrenmattís novella Die Panne.
She received several major awards, including the Pirandello International Award for her innovating production of La Favola del Figlio Cambiato (The Changeling) with the internationally famous actress, Milena Vukotic. Terry subsequently adapted and directed Pirandello's As You Desire Me and co-authored with Enzo Lauretta, TrovarsiÖOltre, based on the magical and surreal works of Luigi Pirandello. This production was presented by the Piccolo Teatro di Milano Teatro díEuropa in 1995 at the New York Festival, Genius and Creativity in Italy in the 18th Century.
TELEVISION FILMS: She conceived and directed the first series ever to be broadcast in Italy of 20 films based on true-to-life stories about tough divorce cases, entitled Lasciamoci cosÏ for Italian national broadcaster, Rai 2. This program gave many women the courage to speak out and break away from tragic situations.
Terry díAlfonso also wrote and directed several TV docu-dramas for RTSI (national Swiss-Italian radio and TV broadcaster) among which In Bed With Patch Adams (with Patch Adams playing himself), Cinderella 2001 (presented at the Creteil Film Festival, France) and Tropic of the Senses (a musical on Anais Nin), for which she also wrote the song lyrics. The radio version received special mention at the Prix Italia 1997,Theatrical Renditions and biopics of Extraordinay Women. In September 2001, at the Benevento Festival (Italy) and, in July 2002, at the Guggenheim Museum in Venice, she adapted and directed Picasso's Women with Milena Vukotic. For her performance in this work, Ms. Vukotic won the prestigious Eleonora Duse Award. In 2005, Terry directed Anais, a new version of the musical on Anais Nin, starring Susannah York and presented at the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden, In 2006 at Sala Azzurra, Milan, she conceived and directed a recital for the diva, Valentina Cortese. In 2007 and 2008, at the Ghione Theatre in Rome, Terry co-authored and directed Pope Joan with Sandra Collodel, Gigi Proietti and Giorgio Albertazzi. In 2009, also at the Ghione Theatre, she adapted and directed 8 Women by Robert Thomas, starring Sandra Milo and Shelagh Gallivan. In 2010, at the Friends of the Certosa di Capri International Arts Festival, Terry adapted and directed the world premiere of An Interview with the Marchesa, by Paolo Puppa, based on the life of the legendary Italian patroness of the arts, Marchesa Luisa Casati, with Milena Vukotic and Marco Gambino. In 2011, she directed a new, multi-media version of Picasso's Women starring Milena Vukotic and Margot Sikabonyi, which again opened the Friends of the Certosa di Capri International Arts Festival and was subsequently produced in Rome at the Ghione Theatre and in Ostia at the Manfredi Theatre. In September, 2013, for The International Voice in Shakespeare, she presented her adaptation of The Tempest, entitled, Were I Human, at the Rose Theatre in London.
In October 2016, Tony Award winning producer Pat Addiss and Georganne Heller presented the first US staged reading of Terry's The Loves Of Picasso at MoMA in New York starring Peter Tate.
Just before her untimely death in 2016, Terry had just finished writing Suicide Lives. Dying to Win... a three character immersive theatre thriller and was currently working on The Pilot and the Princess, a short film about Marguerite Chapin, based on the journals of her nephew, Schuyler Chapin.

The Playground Theatre is located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea W10 where the local community is culturally rich and diverse. Playground's productions reflect this diversity. Formely a bus depot, it is one of London's newest off-west end venues, and was set up as a creative space for innovative theatre artists of all disciplines to come and 'play' with their imaginative ideas. As a registered charity with support from the Arts Council, The Welcome Trust, Esmee Fairbarn and others, numerous projects, initiated here, went on to venues such as The Young Vic, The Hampstead Theatre, The West Yorkshire Playhouse and many others. One such project, Terrific Electric won the Samuel Beckett Award for Innovative Theatre and was part of the Bite season at the Barbican Theatre.
In 2017, Playgound first opened to audiences, a decision was borne from the desire to bring the exceptional artists' work, from those who had 'played' with them, to full production. Many international artists were invited to experiment there including Poland's Henryk Baranowski, winner of Poland and Russia’s top award as best director, Salius Varnus from Lithuania, and Hideki Noda, currently head of Japan's National Theatre. From the UK, we worked closely with Marcello Magni, co founder of Theatre De Complicite, along with his colleague Linda Kerr Scott. Their programme includes international plays, classical concerts, opera, ballet, dance, and film.

"The Loves of Picasso" as originally written by Terry D'Alfonso, is an examination of how Pablo Picasso interacted with the important women who entered and departed his life. Much as been written, including several other plays, and much has been made of his ill treatment of the few women who got close to him, but few have addressed the key issue of Picasso's own feelings about himself, his art and his attitudes and needs concerning those women. Perhaps by better understanding them, we can contexulalise his behaviour?
Converting Terry's play from 8 characters to 1 is a dramaturgical challenge... It requires the actor not only to talk about his women, but also inhabit them, empathise with them, comprehend them. From his playing them, perhaps he is more clearly able to explain his behaviour?
He was labelled Le Monstre Sacre - The Sacred Monster... perhaps in recogition that "bad" behaviour in artistes can ften be forgiven provided that the art is worthy of forgiveness. The modern era is perhaps less forgiving than the past so the Picasso's challenge is to take his chance to put his case forward. We - the audience- become his judges.

DIRECTOR’S NOTE: One of my first thoughts when meeting Peter between Covid Lockdowns in 2021 was how much he resembled Pablo Picasso! When I finally brought this up in conversation, he said, "Funny you should say that, I played him several years ago in New York in a play by Terry D'Alfonso!" He then mentioned that Terry was so impressed with his performance, that she gave him the rights to perform her work in perpetuity. He went on to adapt the play for film and also re-produce the play at his theatre - The Playground W10 - in 2017. Sadly, Terry passed on in 2016.
He also mentioned that he would like to have a solo play in his repertoire which he could play for the next decade on a popular subject that would attract an audience wherever he played in the world. I suggested he could hardly go wrong with a solo play about Picasso and I asked to read Terry's origianal work with a view to adapting it for solo performance.
Solo performance is an interesting genre... it demands that the audience accept, not only that you are who or what you puport to be, but also that you are all the other characters that appear in the story as well! For Peter, having played Picasso with various other actors playing Picasso's various muses and wives in Terry's original play, would now have to play them himself!
For the uninitiated, this is not an obviously easy thing to achieve. It's not just a case of Peter suddently transforming into a woman... but it IS a case of his "empathising" with each character as they appear as if giving Picasso's impersonation of them... so as to give a flash of the character to the audience... In this way a "conversatio"n can take place between two people and thus a play can happen, rather than a simple storytelling...
Peter is a skilled and talented performer. (The two qualities do not always go hand in hand!) but Multi-Character storyteliing is not a skill they teach at Drama School. It requires total surrender to the moment of impulse to replay memories as if they are your own, but as the Character you puport to be... There is no playacting allowed!
Peter took to these techniques like a duck to water, enabling him to portray the multitude of women who cam in and out of Picasso's life as if they were his own memories... In this way, we can observe they way Picasso feels about them, not just listen to what he's telling us he's feeling. There's more information portrayed in the non-verbal than the verbal!
Peter has to not only tell and show us what he is doing to his women, but also how he feels about it. Does he have any compunction? Can we possibly forgive him the more abhorrent of his actions given that his art was - and is - regarded as sacred?


EDINBURGH GUIDE (Vivien Devlin) 23/08/23

BRTSH THEATRE Guide (Anna Ambelez) 12/08/23

UK THEATRE REVIEWS (Clare Brotherwood) 05/08/23

ONE-4-REVIEW (Rona Ounsley) 13/08/23


NORTH WEST END (Greg Holstead) 12/08/23

CULTURE FIX 12/08/23


Glenys Mclaren 07/08/23
Peter Tate certainly looks the part, and holds the audience spellbound in this one man show. Wives, muses and lovers, Picasso needed them all but invariably treated them badly even by the standards of his day. Excellent script, superbly performed. A Guy Masterson production and therefore of his usually high standard. Highly recommended.

Magdalena Kozicka 07/08/23
Outstanding acting!!! Great talent of Picasso overshadowed by his lust. Monster or God?
Make your own judgment! Go and see the show. You won’t regret.

Susan Owen 06/08/23
Superbly written, acted and directed. The audience were held spellbound during this expose of the inner Picasso as he satisfies his entirely selfish wants and lusts in the name of making great art. As a long time admirer of Picasso the artist and believer in separating the product from the creator, I was confronted with the dilemma of collaborating in the destruction of others.
Go see it!


Written in 2017, it nevertheless feels like this is a keenly appropriate time for a production of Picasso. The rumbling discourse over whether we could, or should, divorce art from artist grew louder as 2022 closed, though it remains, of course, unresolved.
Peter Tate’s hour-long work perhaps seeks to chart a middle ground, giving insight into how Pablo Picasso’s immense ego and rotten approach to women were a driving force in his creative process and resulted directly in a large portion of his work.
Tate himself is the show’s sole live performer, though he appears with others in filmed scenes projected throughout. He is the eponymous Picasso, posthumously intent on telling us all about his attitude to, and relationships with, women. We’re taken through his actions and his beliefs as they relate to his wife Olga, then a series of lovers and mistresses, mothers of his children, and muses.
It’s a fascinating portrait. Tate’s performance and script are deeply engaging, enthralling, and exciting. Picasso himself is shown as deeply dysfunctional when it comes to women – seeming to take pride in his destructive influence and has misogynistic ideas most recently seen in Andrew Tate’s dreadful oeuvre. His ego is a thing of wonder, the engine behind his art and his seductions. We hear “I have magic powers I do not understand,” “I am God,” and “I do capture the sun’s secret.” He truly believes his stylish drawings entitle him to, well, everything.
Tate inhabits this forceful belief wonderfully. Pacing around the small set and alternating rants with egotistical pronouncements and calm descriptions of what we’d now see as abusive behaviour. It’s riveting, awful.
Director Guy Masterson and Tate take care to build their story, rather than chase excitement prematurely. The restraint in the scripting is nurtured well by the pacing and direction, ensuring that by the time we get to the deeper revelations and surprises we have a rock-sure foundation of understanding of this character thanks to an information-laden first section.
Eirina Kariori’s simple set consists of a paint spattered groundsheet with a cushion, a ladder, and white gauze curtains. This encircles Picasso, forming a rippled and ethereal backdrop on which his emotions are mapped, and memories of the women he seduced and toyed with are projected via Steven Dean Moore’s video and lighting.
There’s no doubt Picasso can be credited with immense talent, for art and for promotion. This piece of theatre makes great strides in showing off two key sources of energy for that talent, making the case that they’re indivisible from the output. Whether an observer sees this as a positive or negative thing is not really the play’s business. It gives inspiring raw material for further personal reflection on this weighty question. (Karl ODoherty 27/01/22)

Playground Theatre’s Picasso should be paired with a sparkling alcoholic drink to lament the narcissism of a man whose art was built around the women he saw as beneath him (figuratively and literally), from the taking of his mother’s surname to quotes like “My art needs a new woman” to justify every new affair that came his way. It’s witty and fun, yet visceral and uncomfortable. A circular stage illuminated by warm orange and yellow lights draws the audience’s attention, a fitting metaphor for Pablo Picasso’s constant allusion to the sun and how it relates to his revolving door of relationships through the years. “Stop looking at the sun, you could go blind,” he says – a phrase he appropriates from his mother, who is portrayed as the foundation for the artist’s long and misogynistic history with women.
Picasso touches on delicate topics surrounding the divide between creator and creation, while exploring its subject’s predatory nature (evidenced in his paternal attitude to romance with ex-lovers and his constant victim blaming). Peter Tate traps himself in the mind of Picasso, giving a wonderfully accurate depiction of a man tortured by his own dependency on the opposite sex. The actor is an expert at deflection, quite convincing as his character tries to justify bad behaviour. He also has a multitude of voices for capturing the artist’s vision of innocence and naïveté in his conquests. Of course, the audience will see the irony in his bravado: always looking down on women, yet cannot function without them. He’s absolutely right when he says, “Cubism and I are full of deception”, but, more than that, Tate expertly cuts the tension with singing and dancing as the scenes transition from one relationship to another.
A curtain frames the stage in the round, often used as a backdrop for pre-filmed and archival footage. In the context of a one-man play, this is a fantastic way of populating the space and providing different energy to contrast with Tate’s constant pacing and erratic behaviour. Reuben Bojang does seamless work on the light transitions and sound mixing; the alternating red and blue during the intimate scenes balances Picasso’s aggressive tendencies in bed and the artistic grievances he uses to reel in women to sleep with him.
While not exactly an accurate retelling of his true life and journey, the piece is happily upfront and honest, stating clearly: “They were great artists; I’m an entertainer” – and entertain Tate’s Picasso does. (Mae Trumata 27/01/23)




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All Picasso Images except #1 Credit: Brigitta Scholz Mastroianni Nux Photography


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Peter Tate in "Picasso: Le Monstre Sacre" (image: Gail Hage: Gail Hadani)
Image Credit: Gail Hadani
Peter Tate in "Picasso" (image: Nux Photography)
Image Credit:
Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni
Nux Photography
Peter Tate in "Picasso" (image: Nux Photography)
Image Credit:
Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni
Nux Photography
Peter Tate in "Picasso" (image: Nux Photography)
Image Credit:
Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni
Nux Photography
Peter Tate in "Picasso" (image: Nux Photography)
Image Credit:
Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni
Nux Photography
Peter Tate in "Picasso" (image: Nux Photography)
Image Credit:
Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni
Nux Photography
Peter Tate in "Picasso" (image: Nux Photography)
Image Credit:
Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni
Nux Photography
Peter Tate in "Picasso" (image: Nux Photography)
Image Credit:
Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni
Nux Photography

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