Saturday, March 17, 2012

Beethoven, Tolstoy, and Murder in New York

Just back from New York and seeing,  at one of the tiny LaMaMa theaters in the East Village, the acclaimed play just imported from London, The Kreutzer Sonata, based on the Tolstoy novella. I've previewed it a couple times here already, and here's the NYT review,  but I'm happy to report now that it is quite terrific, though closing a week from tomorrow.  It's the story of a man confessing to fellow train passengers that he was driven by jealousy to murdering his wife (and then acquitted by a jury).  In the play, he addresses the audience directly with no other travelers in the train compartment.  However, behind a screen, his wife, who is a pianist, and a violinist (were they having an affair?) come and go, playing snatches of the famous Beethoven violin sonata in period garb. 

While their recital, playing the Kreutzer, is important the husband in the play (unlike in the novella) does not directly blame it for driving his wife wild with sexual energy.  The acting is great and the ending (and much else) nicely ambiguous.  Here's the trailer for the show:

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