For the past week, The Lyric Stage has been collecting donations for The Saling ALS Residence in Quincy after performances of their current production of 33 Variations. The response has been heartening. Collections will continue after every performance for the remainder of the run, through February 2.
33 Variations simultaneously examines the creation of Beethoven's piano masterpiece the Diabelli Variations, and the struggle of a musicologist, Katherine Brandt, to discover why Beethoven was compelled to compose thirty-three distinct variations on a simple, uninspired theme. The progression of her ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and her relationship with her daughter are also themes, as is Beethoven's growing deafness.
The Leonard Florence Center for Living (operated by The Chelsea Jewish Foundation) presents America's first and only permanent residence dedicated to caring for individuals living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. Located on the second floor, the Saling ALS residence (named for Steve Saling, co-designer of the Center, and consultant on this production of 33 Variations) is equipped with the latest computer-operated technology to allow individuals with ALS the most amount of independence possible. Residents are able to open doors, turn up or down their bedroom shades, or call for the elevator- all with help of a computer and a sensor that tracks head/eye movement for instruction.
Moisés Kaufman's 33 VARIATIONS, directed by Spiro Veloudos continues performances through February 2, 2013.
Drama, memory, and music combine to transport you from present-day New York to 19th-century Austria as a mother comes to terms with her daughter and a composer comes to terms with his genius - while both strive to overcome progressive physical hurdles. Separated by 200 years, these two people share an obsession that transcends the boundaries of time. Moisés Kaufman (The Laramie Project, Gross Indecency) has written an extraordinary play about passion, parenthood, the creative process, and the moments of beauty that can transform life.
Paula Plum* Dr. Katherine Brandt
Dakota Shepard Clara Brandt
Kelby T. Akin* Mike Clark
James Andreassi* Ludwig van Beethoven
Will McGarrahan Anton Diabelli
Maureen Keiller* Dr. Gertrude Ladenburger
Victor L. Shopov Anton Schindler
Catherine Stornetta Pianist
*Member of Actors Equity Association (AEA) ** United Scenic Artists (USA-Local 829)
All performances take place at The Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, Mass. TICKETS: $25 - $58. Seniors - $5 off regular price. Student rush - $10. Group rates available. Box Office: 617-585-5678. Website: lyricstage.com.
Pictured: Maureen Keiller, Dakota Shepard, Paula Plum. Photo by Mark S. Howard.