Best Locally Produced Drama Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2001 - The Music Lesson
The Music Lesson dismantled the myth that good drama must arise from a dramatic situation. In this play by Tammy Ryan, a couple of musicians, Irena and Ivan, take refuge in Pittsburgh from war-torn Sarajevo and end up giving music lessons to American children from a broken family. What made Florida Stage's production exceptional was the acting, featuring the talents of Maggi St. Clair Melin, Jessica K. Peterson, Joris Stuyck, Elizabeth Dimon, Amy Love, Ashton Lee, Craig D. Ames, Eddi Shraybman, and Ethel Yari. The alienation and suffering these characters felt moved through the audience like slow ether, emanating from their simplest gestures. In fact the play is a gestural masterpiece, with all the action centering around an invisible piano. More than a metaphor, classical music becomes a tangible character, so that The Music Lesson is not just another account of human tragedy desensitized by a flood of overt emotion and sentimentality; it is a moving account of people trying to rebuild their lives.