T&T actor Paul-Robert Pryce has appeared in a Brooklyn staging of the play She Talks to Beethoven in a double role. The play, written by Adrienne Kennedy and directed by Charlotte Braithwaite, closed last night at JACK, an arts space in Brooklyn, New York.A press release from Daniela Fifi, Pryce's wife, said the actor, who was in last year's Yale Rep production of Hamlet with Hollywood actor Paul Giamatti, played the composer Beethoven and a "disappeared" man from 1961 Ghana, David Alexander. Natalie Paul played the other role in the play.
"She Talks to Beethoven is a non-seated installation/performance that integrates found objects, drawing, silhouette and projection to tell the story of 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," the release noted.
The 1989 script "offers a layered discourse on politics, revolution and loss," the release said. "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."Braithwaite, the director, helmed Pryce's production of Smile Orange at the Little Carib in 2001. She is Barbadian by descent and the release quoted her as saying about She Talks to Beethoven:
"The mix of languages, French and English, presents viewpoints of post-colonial locations reflected all over the world especially the Caribbean. The shared Caribbean heritage of many of the collaborators–installation designer Abigail Deville (Dominican descent), actress Natalie Paul (Haitian descent), actor Paul Pryce (Trinidad/Martinique/Jamaican descent), and my own Barbadian descent–created an environment where this shifting of languages felt natural and unforced in trying to communicate the complexities of the characters collective psyches."The playwright, Adrienne Kennedy, has won several awards and honours for her work, the release noted, including a Guggenheim fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters award, PEN/Laura Pels Award for Master American Dramatist, and three Obie Awards (given by the Village Voice newspaper for off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway productions).