Reviewed by David Roberts and Joseph Verlezza
Theatre Reviews Limited
“The views of space and time which I wish to lay before you have sprung from the soil of experimental physics, and therein lies their strength. They are radical; henceforth, space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.” – Hermann Minkowski, 1906
Space (by itself) and time (by itself) fade away in Roark Littlefield’s scintillating and intriguing new short play “The Violin Maker” currently running in New York City as part of the Midtown International Theatre Festival. Sixty-three year old violin maker Simon is in a coma and attempting to “rewrite” some of his past. This past includes Amy a musician he “met” when they both were in their twenties. However, Amy cannot play the violin, talks to the father she lost to death years ago, and seems to be a figment of the dying Simon’s mind. Or is she?
Just as the audience congratulates itself in having unraveled the complex and convoluted conflicts in “The Violin Maker” and feels confident that Amy is a creation of Simon’s mind, Amy declares that she “was convinced that [Simon] was not real” and that she “had made him up.”
Joseph Palazzo and Danielle Ma are two remarkable and gifted young actors who are well trained, intelligent and focused on their work. Both understand their purpose and never allow the well crafted script to control their performance which results in a sensitive and emotional bond with the audience and with each other. They are ever present in each defining moment, flooding the stage with honesty.
Ms. Ma breathes life into the character of Amy with each nuanced turn as she slowly learns of her fate and reality. Her performance is riveting. Mr. Palazzo is natural, strong yet so vulnerable and creates a Simon that is frail but fearless, bound only by the constraints of the human spirit and set free by his undying soul. He is a gracious actor adding depth and understanding who is always aware of the importance of his counterpart. They blend well together each individually inspired by the insightful script.
“The Violin Maker” is a brilliant foray into the magic of the human mind and celebrates its remarkable ability to create and re-create, imagine and re-imagine, realities that strive for survival of the spirit and transcend any obstacle death can attempt to put in the way of happiness and graciousness.