Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's 'Kreutzer Sonata' blends song, drama
Martin Giles is the sole actor in Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's “The Kreutzer Sonata.”
But he won't be alone onstage.
His acting partners will be violinist Juan Jaramillo, pianist Alaine Fink and the music of Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata.
No, it's not a musical, and Giles won't be singing.
But Irish playwright Nancy Harris envisions Beethoven's music as an active participant in the drama.
“Music and its possible interplay with Pozdynshev (Giles' character) are suggested throughout the piece,” Harris says at the start of the script. “He reacts to it, avoids it, perhaps engages with it at various points. ... (The music) triggers memories and thoughts, urging the story forward and helping it to unfold.”
The musicians and their duet exist in Pozdynshev's memory, and snippets of the sonata provide a context and viewpoint for his storytelling.
Harris' 80-minute drama is adapted from Russian author Leo Tolstoy's 1889 novella in which Pozdynshev, a mysterious passenger on a train, reveals his past and the part that Beethoven's music played in the dissolution of his marriage and his life.
“The way the play unfolds — it's a great story and all told really well,” Giles says.
“I think it's a beautiful play, a simple, beautiful play,” says Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's interim producing artistic director Alan Stanford, who is directing “The Kreutzer Sonata.”
“You couldn't want a better piece of music. It's Beethoven at his best or most orchestral. Always, the instruments are on a par with one another. I assume Tolstoy knew it well when he chose it. It is another character in the play.”
Giles has enormous respect for Tolstoy.
“He's such a great artist. He has something he wants you to know and change you and make you a better person. It's great to be in his presence,” Giles says. “It's a really unique feeling the way I'm sandwiched in between Beethoven and Tolstoy. It's a bit of a challenge to live up to.”
Giles is no stranger to single-actor plays; he's starred in Samuel Beckett's “Krapp's Last Tape” and Eric Bogosian's “Drinking in America.”
“It's a weird, unique challenge, and I like that it's a whole different experience than being in a play with other people,” Giles says. “It's a really different state of being, being onstage by yourself. It's totally unique and an enormous challenge of concentration.”
Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NHL notebook: New Maple Leafs coach Babcock bids farewell to Detroit
- Pirates’ McCutchen laughs off pay stub leak
- Hopewell hall of fame, museum celebrates retro arcade games
- Backyard sheds reimagined as pubs, studios, getaways
- Sophomore standouts Wiltrout, Geist shine at PIAA meet
- Steelers interested in playing internationally again
- Point Breeze writer draws from his past
- Homework: Bonsai show at Phipps Garden Center in Shadyside
- The Word Guy: Avoid verbal potholes during job interviews
- Murray, Alpha notify West Virginia coal miners of layoffs
- Review: Bricolage’s ‘Saints Tour’ is creepy, on-the-move theater