CIRCLE OF FIFTHS
Circle of Fifths is a story of harmony and dissonance, theme and counter-theme: love and hate, trust and betrayal, truth and deceit. The setting is contemporary New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, but in the world of the play great composers return from beyond the grave to give advice to the living, who struggle to create their own surrogate families within the community of other artists, as they all scramble to maintain the fires of creativity amidst the harsh demands and disappointments of daily life.
Treason is the tale of the famed American traitor, Benedict Arnold, and the gallant but doomed British officer, John André, who was Arnold's go-between. It is a story of intrigue, adventure and romance, as the love triangle involving Arnold, his wife Peggy and the dashing André is played out against the background of the American Revolution. Loyalty, patriotism and betrayal are at war in the hearts of the main characters as they struggle to come to grips with the war going on all around them, as a new country struggles to define itself.
Claire is a composer living with her painter boyfriend, Daniel. Her best friends Bruce and Geoffrey live upstairs; Bruce, a Chinese-American puppeteer, is dying of AIDs. Geoffrey, his African-American boyfriend, has just landed the role of Mercutio in a production of Romeo and Juliet. In spite of Claire’s advice, Bruce is hiding the severity of his condition from Geoffrey.
Claire attends her father’s funeral to find that her troubled sister Anne has also turned up – they have not spoken much in years, and Anne’s recently published article in a psychiatric journal is a thinly veiled attack on their mother, Elaine, who turned to religion when she discovered Claire’s father was a homosexual. She and Anne have not spoken for many years, which is one reason Anne suffers from bulimia. Meanwhile, Claire has been neglecting and ignoring Daniel, who finally storms off into the night.
Claire has been commissioned to write a requiem, but she is having a creative block when her favorite composer appears to help out – Ludwig van Beethoven. He is soon joined by Bach, but the two of them cannot agree about anything, and hurl insults at one another, almost coming to blows.
The next day, Anne shows up unannounced at Claire’s apartment, meets Bruce, and proceeds to seduce him. Neither of them tells Claire about it; she is still obsessed with writing her requiem, even as she continues to receive advice from her obstreperous composer friends. The situation becomes even more complicated when Geoffrey fields a phone call from Elaine and innocently invites her to come for a visit – an invitation she accepts, showing up with suitcases in tow. Bruce and Geoff whisk her off to a gay bar, which she enjoys enormously – but when they return to the apartment, she gives Bruce a Tarot reading that upsets her so much that she refuses to continue it. A confrontation between Elaine and Anne reveals ugly family secrets – and when Bruce suddenly collapses at a rehearsal, everyone rushes to his side at the hospital.
As Claire says, music is about relationships – as in a circle of fifths, when the journey begins and ends at home, but not before traveling through every note of the twelve-tone scale. Each character in the play becomes the subject of his or her own subplot as the story cycles through their intertwining lives. Thus the structure of the play parallels its musical title, as the characters search for meaning buried in suffering and art, and find that even death can offer hope of reconciliation and redemption.
It has been three years since the struggle between Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty atop Reichenbach Falls sent Moriarty plunging to his death - or so we think. But when a shipment of poison gas arrives in London Holmes realizes that his old rival is not dead; he blames Holmes for the fall which has left him crippled. Holmes has twenty-four hours to find and defeat Moriarty, as well as save the woman he loves. Holmes and Watson battle anarchists and Moriarty's thugs against the backdrop of foggy London streets and rattling hansom cabs.
On a train en route to London to attend Copenhagen, a play about physics, two English physicists, upper-class cosmologist George and brilliant working-class String theorist Rory, along with George’s American cosmologist wife (or is she?) June, pursue their complex ideas about physics—a conversation that barely masks just-below-the-surface deceit and lies. Old Cambridge University classmates George and Rory dig at one another, with June caught in the middle. However, the three characters also unwittingly excavate their scars of jealousy, loss and grief, finally exposing their deepest longings for meaning in a questionably trustworthy universe.
Strings is a play of elegant, cutting-edge physics thoroughly entangled with deeply familiar—and unruly—human pain, passion, and desire.