She Talks to Beethoven, by Adrienne Kennedy
She Talks to Beethoven is a 30-minute, non-seated installation/performance.
"She Talks to Beethoven," directed by Charlotte Brathwaite (Princess Grace Award) in collaboration with Abigail DeVille (resident artist, Studio Museum in Harlem), centers on Suzanne Alexander, an African-American woman living in 1961 post-independence Ghana. After the sudden and mysterious disappearance of her husband, she seeks solace in the spirit of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven, whose letters she has been studying. Actors Natalie Paul and Paul-Robert Pryce play Suzanne and Beethoven, respectively.
The play, written by pioneering avant-garde playwright Adrienne Kennedy in 1989, offers a layered discourse on politics, revolution and loss. Set in Ghana, Suzanne waits in her room listening to radio broadcasts about her husband who has mysteriously disappeared while she attempts to write about and communicate with composer Ludwig van Beethoven. Her world is infiltrated by snatches of Ghanaian string music, the revolutionary words of Frantz Fanon and strains of Beethoven's "Fidelio." Suzanne, recovering from an unspecified illness hovers in displaced time and space fluctuating between Vienna, Austria, in 1803, and Accra, Ghana, in 1961.
For the production at JACK, Brathwaite and her collaborators create a complete installation wherein time and space are manipulated through sound and visuals producing a dream space in a vivid world that is simultaneously phantasmagorical, surreal, frightening and dangerous, transforming the intimate to the epic.
Director: Charlotte Brathwaite
Scenic Design: Abigail DeVille
Lighting Design: Yi Zhao
Projection Design: Hannah Wasileski
Composer/Sound Design: Guillermo E. Brown
Costumes: Dede M. Ayite
Dramaturg: Kate Atwell
Stage Management: Julie Ann Arbiter, Gabriel DeLeon
505 Waverly Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11238