Sometimes the truth can seem so fantastic that it makes for a great story.
Mary Beth Peil as Erica in a photo by James Leynse
After a slightly slow start, “The Morini Strad,” in a New York premiere at Primary Stages at 59E59 Theaters through April 22nd, just begins to hum beautifully. Willy Holtzman’s play is based on truth but it is fantastic in all the best senses–odd and imaginative; the characters “The Morini Strad,” get a grip and hold on tight.
Michael Laurence as Brian with Mary Beth Peil as Erica in a photo by James Leynse
Erica (Mary Beth Peil), once a child prodigy, has only memories of her great performances (enacted by violinist Hanah Stuart) and her Davidoff violin. Age has diminished her capacities. No longer able to play, she is difficult, even unpleasant to everyone– especially to the students she takes on. She invites Brian (Michael Laurence), a luthier, to come to repair the violin.
Hanah Stuart, Mary Beth Peil and Michael Laurence in a photo by James Leynse
Exacting and embittered, Erica asks Brian to sell the Strad. Beguiled by the promise of a huge payday, Brian invests his hopes and time in what may prove to be a futile endeavor.
Mary Beth Peil and Michael Laurence (with Hanah Stuart top) in a photo by James Leynse
Peil and Laurence beautifully play out the improbably affectionate relationship that develops between Erica and Brian. They give utterly believable and very moving performances.
Michael Laurence as Brian in his workshop. Photo by James Leynse
For tickets and a schedule of performances, please visit www.primarystages.org.