While watching The Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven Blatz I couldn’t help but wondering how Daniel Day-Lewis would fare in playing the role of Blatz himself and I also couldn’t help but thinking that Armin Wiebe, the writer of the play, must have at least at one point thought the same thing.
Well I was wrong.
Armin Wiebe’s The Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven Blatz is about as Manitoban a play as it comes, well at least in theory, and boy does it work. When I say Manitoban I am referring to the fact that the play is about a seemingly traditional Mennonite couple living in a small house in the prairies. Let’s be honest, there is nothing more Manitoban than that…but with that being said, within about two minutes one comes to realize that this play is about much more than the classic Mennonite lifestyle, it’s about sex, it’s about legacy, it’s about war, and finally it’s about Beethoven.
Wiebe continues his tradition of combining English and Low-German, to create what he calls, “buggered-up English with a sprinkling of Plautdietsch,” which dates back to 1984 with his first novel, The Salvation of Yasch Siemens.
Anyways back to the character of Beethoven Blatz. I am always fascinated by what I consider to be “powerhouse characters” that demand powerhouse performances (think Jerry Maguire, or Cruise’s performance as Frank T.J. Mackey in Magnolia). The character does not have to always be the protagonist or focal character, but he is normally the catalyst of the plot’s main events.
Blatz is the enigmatic powerhouse of Moonlight. Every scene he is a part of radiates with energy and symbolism. He represents a irreparably damaged soul, one half of a previously whole heart, in search of his love Sonya (or Sonia I suppose) whom he lost in the Russian Revolution.
Now admittedly, I did not come to these profound conclusions while I watched the play, but instead my class was given the privilege of being a part of a seminar with Armin Wiebe, where he answered many questions in regards to the main characters.
It was at this seminar that I found out that Wiebe had not even entertained the idea of having Daniel Day-Lewis play Beethoven Blatz in either a reinterpretation of the play or a film adaptation. In fact, I don’t think Wiebe had even considered the possibility of a film actor portraying Blatz.
Oh well, I’m pushing for DDL to get the part…or maybe Gary Oldman.