A week or so ago, I discovered a fantastic website: ArtsBoston.org. It offers a listing of events going on in and around the Boston area including plays, operas, exhibitions, and concerts, etc. It’s a revelation for me since I’m never exactly sure when I’m going to be free, given my erratic work schedule. If I find myself with the night off at the last minute, I can just check out their site, and find out what’s going on in my area.
So, last Thursday, I checked out ArtsBoston.org, and discovered that a play called Opus (2006) was being performed in nearby Watertown. We head out there every once in a while to go to Target and stock up on the necessities, but I had no idea that just a couple blocks from Target was a theater in which the New Repertory Group is in residence. It’s called the Arsenal Center for the Arts, and it was a very happy discovery. I’m thrilled to know about yet another excellent venue for the arts nearby.
New Repertory Theater focuses on recent theater as well as producing tried and true classics. We saw their production of “Opus” by Michael Hollinger, a former violist, now turned playwright. It’s a small ensemble piece for five actors that presents the challenges that a chamber music ensemble faces in the competitive world of performing arts.
Opus accurately depicted many of the quirky personality traits that are stereotypes in the world of instrumentalists. The first violinist was a show-off and a prima dona, the second violinist was laid back and a jokester, and so on. I had to giggle a few times with some of the jibes that were directed at the musicians in the audience because they really hit home, being that my partner is a violist in a professional string quartet. He laughed too.
Controversy ensued almost at the very beginning of the play when the violist was fired from the group for unspecified reasons. There were many twists and turns as the plot evolved that kept drawing you in more and more as the play went on, and though I was worried that the entire play would revolve around the afore mentioned stereotypes, by the end, I was engrossed in the intense situation that had come to a head in the final scene.
Though the play was almost two hours, and performed without and intermission, Dan and I had felt that the time flew by. We were happily transported out of our everyday lives and into the lives of the characters on stage. It reminded us both that though there were times of stress ahead for both of us, things could be much worth. It also begged the question of how much should one sacrifice for one’s art – or greatness. The evening spent at the Arsenal Theater proved to be provocative as well as entertaining.