Poor Beethoven

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Whoever said that Mennonites don't know how to have a good time probably hasn't rubbed elbows with Armin Wiebe.

Wiebe, a former Creative Communications instructor at Red River College, brings 19th century Mennonite living to life in The Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven Blatz, a play about love, lust, music, and life on the Manitoba prairies.

Obrum, a relatively simple man who longs for the simple pleasures in life such as fun, sex, and adventure, is supported by his caring yet uncertain wife, Sucsh. When Obrum introduces a broken down piano and a wiley Russian pianist to his humble prairie home, drama ensues.

The musically gifted, yet spiritually haunted Russian goes by the moniker of Beethoven Blatz. His story is checkered, and woven into tales of liner notes, piano keys, and a lost love.

These characters are figuratively overshadowed by the tutelage and firmness of Tean, the village Mid Wife, who's own desires almost get the better of her.

Beethoven, a man not in his right mind, is taken advantage first by Obrum, then by his wife Susch. He's a man with class and a pedigree of musical knowledge (he's always dressed in a suit and plays the piano like a saint), yet he's quarantined in a small barn house to fix a piano that would insult even the most novice of musicians. He's continually antagonized by the lonely Sucsh, who, in a fit of her own misguided passion, takes advantage of the soulfully tortured Blatz with a flurry of sexual maneuvers, accumulating in a listless fornication.

As Obrum and Sucsh's marriage begins to burst at the proverbial seams, Blatz is scolded by both Sucsh and Tean for being an unwanted distraction. Obrum too gets in on the Blatz-bashing-bandwagon, and loudly demands that he leave the barn to find work as a school teacher.

All Blatz yearns for is a musical path to a reunion with his beloved Sonia. His mind and body are completely clouded with uncertainty and pain. Subconsciously, as Obrum, Sucsh, and Tean certainly aren't malicious characters, the other players take advantage of his disturbed state by casting their own troubles on to him. In the end, he's treated as a scapegoat for circumstances and actions beyond his control or grasp.


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