I went last night to Shakespeare Santa Cruz, our annual summer play festival up in the redwood groves on the UCSC campus. (And if you think that sounds like an unreal experience, well, yes, it is.) Itzmar Moses recent play was held in the indoor theatre, which is just as well, as this more intimate setting is necessary for the total concentration it requires.
Now this may be a spoiler folks, but Bach is not actually a character in the play. He, or rather his music, is the atmosphere of the play. Among the many interesting things the play attempts to do, is to help the audience understand what a fugue is. In my opinion, it succeeds brilliantly.
Six--or is it seven?--musicians are hoping to acquire the post of organist of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. That is probably all you need to know about the basic plot structure of the play. Everything else is elaboration.
It has had a great success here in Santa Cruz, deservedly so. This is the second play this year I have seen with an ensemble male cast, the other being the equally enjoyable The Seafarers and against my feminist instincts, I find this five or six person male ensemble idea a sound structure. It is not that there are no women in this world--but they are all addressed, mostly in fear and trembling, in absentia.
I think you could read this play and enjoy it. But it is a little like reading a score of music, and much more so in this instance than in the reading of other scripts. Reading can only take you so far--you have no idea of it's effect until you see it performed.
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