’33 Variations’ Closes Bluebarn’s 25th Season
May 6th, 2014
Omaha, NE — Beethoven meets Bluebarn in an upcoming theatre production.[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/33-var-web.mp3]
The Bluebarn Theatre in Omaha wraps up its 25th anniversary season with â€œ33 Variationsâ€ by MoisÃ©s Kaufman. Producing Artistic Director Susan Clement-Toberer says it was the first production she chose for this season, pointing out parallels to the Bluebarnâ€™s own history.
â€œSo it was the first show that I knew I wanted to produce for our 25th anniversary season,â€ Clement-Toberer said. â€œWhen I read it, one of the main themes was creating something incredibly intricate and beautiful from something considered commonplace, and to never negate that something simple can create something magnificent.â€
One focus of the play is Beethovenâ€™s 33 â€œDiabelli Variationsâ€ and their somewhat mysterious origin. The questions include â€œWhen asked to write one variation, why did Beethoven write 33?â€ and â€œHow did Beethoven create something so epic from such a small, mediocre source?â€ The play also follows another story in the present:
â€œThe play exists in two time periods: Beethovenâ€™s time period, and then present-day as well,â€ said Clement-Toberer. â€œWe follow really two storylines that intersect throughout the play. One is Katherine’s, she is a musicologist, and she also has just been diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrigâ€™s Disease.â€
Adding to the drama is the tension between Katherine and her daughter and Beethovenâ€™s own decline in health. Tying the threads of the story together is music of the master himself:
â€œDuring the course of the play we have Hal France playing all 33 variations live, throughout the play,â€ Clement-Toberer said.
Beyond the music, Ruth Rath – who plays Katherine – points out the depth of the world the cast enters when they walk onstage.
â€œWhen I first read the script, I realized how much I learned about Beethoven and all the wonderful things heâ€™d done, and the difficulties in his life…how much Iâ€™ve learned about Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and the process people go through,â€ said Rath.
Katherineâ€™s nurse, Mike Clark, is played by Brian Zealand, who says the story includes some universal messages:
â€œThe heart more than anything else made me sure more than anything else that I wanted to be a part of this show,â€ Zealand said. â€œThe story is a beautiful one about humans being humans and how hard it can be, sometimes.â€
The Bluebarnâ€™s production of â€œ33 Variationsâ€ by MoisÃ©s Kaufman and featuring pianist Hal France runs May 8 through June 8. For tickets and more information, visit www.bluebarn.org.
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