responses and analysis
These analysis make up my personal (non-peer reviewed) research and/or informed opinions.
Religion, family, and acceptance face off in Larry Rinkel’s A KREUTZER SONATA. The play depicts the difficulties of an observant Jewish young musician and that which challenges his religious rigidity. Currently showing at The Unfringed Festival at The Secret Theater, tickets are available for $18 HERE.
The play follows a skilled pianist, David, an orthodox Jew, and his equally skilled duet partner Elena, a staunch atheist. Their religious and cultural differences stand as obstacles to their duet performance of Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata for their university’s showcase. Additional conflicts arise from David’s Protestant roommate, David’s parents’ disintegrating marriage, and his father’s loss of faith. The story summarizes the experience of holding onto religion throughout difficult circumstances.
A KREUTZER SONATA portrays what happens when a resilient person faces unyieldingly difficult situations – that at some point they’ll need to choose to bend or break. As the play’s protagonist pursues his education in music school, his unanswered question about religious and family life result in snowballing of conflicts that amalgamate into a cacophony. Only once David acknowledges and reflects upon his rigidity do his issues begin to resolve.
The conflicts in this story – rigidity in perspective versus open-mindedness and religious fortitude versus loss of faith – are both relatable if not familiar. David’s path in a foreign environment stresses his religious views, molding him into a more flexible and open-minded person. This journey is exemplary of modern orthodox Judaism, which blends orthodox religious observance within the professional business or academic sphere, and resolves conflicts which may oppose religious observance with flexibility and open-mindedness.
Audiences with an interest in religion will enjoy the show’s discourse of religious observance in difficult circumstances – an especially important topic for those who identify as modern orthodox Jews. Furthermore, the show is successful in raising strong questions about faith and coexistence.
Overall A KREUTZER SONATA is a strong production for its stage in development. It raises important questions about religion, coexistence, and flexibility in perspective.