Thoughts on "Discovery"
Hello, world! My name is Ken Gaul, and I am currently playing Anton Schindler in LTA’s 33 Variations. We are merely days away from opening this production, and the myriad moving pieces are all falling into place; exciting times! I find myself particularly contemplative today, reflecting on how, just weeks ago, the cast and crew began this great voyage together. We did not yet know where the journey would take us, but we embarked nevertheless with courage and determination. Through LTA’s blog, I get to tell you a bit about it!
The main action of 33 Variations, as summarized on the LTA page, concerns an eminent musicologist who is determined to discover the reason Beethoven spent so much time writing a series of variations on a second-rate waltz he once described as “a cobbler’s patch”. The spark behind my post here is that word “discover.” 33 Variations is all about discovery – but I’m afraid I can’t elaborate too much on this specific point without depriving our audiences of the joy of that discovery. And that is something to be treasured! We are very into “spoilers” as a culture nowadays; one has to make a conscious effort to avoid having the ending to a book, TV show, film, or video game ruined for them. We’re even more obsessed with the shortest and fastest means to get a point across, and that stands contrary to the experience of art of any kind. It shouldn’t be just about the destination, but how you get there. Never underestimate the value of the “slow burn.”
What I can do is talk about my experience of discovery while being part of this show. The script is particularly strong. Our wonderful director has a definitive vision, and, more compellingly, the ability to inspire people to make that vision a reality. For stage-mates, I have a great group of people, all of whom are able to, with the slightest expression or inflection, reveal the different shades of their characters in all their humor, madness, joy, and despair. We have a pianist who creates an equally dynamic character with his interpretation of the music itself. And with the crew, the set, the lights, the sounds, the singing, the dancing (!), the props, the costumes, the hair/makeup (including all the people who have tirelessly worked to create, manage, and operate those elements), and everything else – there has been so much to discover in this journey. Every day of rehearsal has brought to light different layers of this show as all these elements, in their own due time, coalesce. I look at the script now and I see so much “between the lines” that I could never have found on my own. It’s a treat.
The final layer is, of course, you – the audience. Our journey of discovery begins again with you out there in front of us, and we are so excited to have you come along.
- Ken Gaul