A Schoenberg strudel by Alessia Belsito-Riera
It’s a hot summer’s night in Los Angeles. Not a creature stirs on this 13th of July 1951, not a star breaks through the smog of the concrete jungle. There are no roaring parties, no glamourous galas, just a clock racing towards midnight, reverberating like a bass drum and cymbals in Arnold Schoenberg’s ears, as time races towards midnight and what the composer believes to be his death.
Austrian exile Schoenberg (Andrew Laing) takes to his bed and centre stage in Circa Theatre’s world premiere of In Bed with Schoenberg directed by Conrad Newport. A self-confirmed genius and numerologist, Schoenberg is convinced this is the last day of his life. Disillusioned and downcast by the fickle mistress that is Hollywood, the composer reminisces on his time in Vienna, when fame, fortune, and philandering were all his until the Fuhrer robbed him of his life.
Musical director Donald Armstrong suggested to his brother, playwright Dave Armstrong, years ago that Schoenberg would make an intriguing character. “Schoenberg can be outrageously egotistical one moment and warm and tender the next. And he is very funny,” Dave explains. “This play tells a universal story of love, rejection, exile, and the tension between popularity and artistic integrity that every artist still faces today.”
Running from the 25th of February until the 17th of March, In Bed with Schoenberg combines theatre and classical music into a delightful Viennese pastry of a show.
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« Issue 189, February 14, 2023