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plays by Bryan Davidson

Bryan Davidson: Full-Length Plays

WAR MUSIC

Character Breakdown: 5M, 2F

Set/Technical: Set in various locations in Europe, 1917 - 1945.
Running Time: 2 hours

Awards:

Production History:

Reviews:

Los Angeles Times October 26, 2002 THEATER REVIEW 'War Music' weighs destruction, creation A haunting presentation at the Los Angeles Theatre Center ponders upon war and survival--both physical and emotional. By Daryl H. Miller, Times Staff Writer The first moments of "War Music," a new play by Bryan Davidson, are meant to evoke that delicious sense of anticipation before a concert: the swirling cacophony of the instrumentalists' warm-up, followed by the conductor stepping onto the podium, raising his baton and.... Just then, an air-raid siren screams. It's a sobering bit of symbolism, inviting the viewer to think not just about war's disruptions but about all of the lives lost -- all of the music silenced forever. How to endure that? In a haunting presentation by Playwrights' Arena and the Echo Theater Company at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, "War Music" suggests that the truest counterbalance to so much destruction is to go on creating. Like an orchestral work, the play is divided into movements, each inspired by the life of a composer -- Frank Bridge, Anton Webern and Olivier Messiaen -- during World Wars I and II. The first movement charges into a WWI firefight that has pinned two British soldiers to the ground. One is a pianist, Douglas Fox (Jeremy Maxwell), a friend of Bridge's (Morgan Rusler). The battle claims one of Fox's arms, prompting Bridge to write the piano piece "Three Improvisations for the Left Hand," of which the "At Dawn" section, woven into the action, trembles with the promise of renewal. Pondering Webern's accidental death at the hands of an American soldier in post-WWII occupied Austria, the second movement focuses not so much on the composer (Christopher Shaw) as on the GI (John Prosky), whose life is shattered by the event, and an aspiring musician (Maxwell) inspired by Webern. The final movement is inspired by "Quartet for the End of Time," which Messiaen wrote while a prisoner of war in 1941. Awaiting a rehearsal of the piece, three fellow prisoner-musicians (Kevin Crowley, Shaw and Prosky) enact a comic "Waiting for Godot"-like routine while Messiaen (Maxwell) is led through the process of creation by Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows (Nancy Bell). The play's gorgeously surreal visuals, staged by Jessica Kubzansky, reach their fullest expression here. Wandering through an ethereal forest (dangling strips of white fabric in Susan Gratch's set design, painted in dreamy pastels by Jeremy Pivnick's lighting), Messiaen gathers up all of the sorrow from the previous stories, mixes it with such timeless beauty as birdsong, and turns it into an enduring act of redemption. 'War Music' Where: Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles When: Fridays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Ends: Nov. 17 Price: $15-$20 Contact: (213) 473-0640. Running Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Los Angeles Times, Daryl Miller


 

Bryan Davidson: Ten-Minute Plays

Death's Messengers

Character Breakdown: 4M, 1F

Running Time: 15 minutes

Awards:

Production History:


 

Cause of Death

Character Breakdown: 4M, 2F

Running Time: 15 minutes

Development:


 

Three Pennies

Character Breakdown: 4M, 4F

Set/Technical: Use of 4 live microphones.
Running Time: 25 minutes

Production History:


 

Travelogue with Viewmaster #47128

Character Breakdown: 1M

Set/Technical: Requires a viewmaster projector.
Running Time: 15 minutes

Production History:


 

Don in Thailand

Character Breakdown: 1M

Running Time: 15 minutes

Production History: