Armin's Shorts
The Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven Blatz
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from the Theatre Projects Manitoba
production. (2011)

"After Act 1 you're exhilarated and a bit flushed. You feel as though something's been achieved. You feel hope heavy in the air. It's honey and light. You're sure, but you're not certain that you've just watched two unwed Mennonites coupling on a stage. You've just watched them enacting the biblical myth. You've just watched them turn Mennonite and biblical into ancient and mythical. It's been good. You want a cigarette." -Paul Krahn, Rhubarb magazine

"… mischievous Wiebe, the award-winning Winnipeg novelist, makes his successful playwriting debut with a deceptively simple plot complicated by his quirky characters reversing the order of the words they speak like so many Mennonite Yodas. Combine that with Obrum's knack for talking in metaphors, "he speaks double sometimes," and communication breakdowns there will be. Did Obrum hire Blatz to tune his piano or his wife?"
-Kevin Prokosh, Winnipeg Free Press

"The Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven Blatz makes a joyful noise indeed."
-Joff Schmidt, CBC Manitoba

"…once the audience gets used to the dialect, the play blasts off like a rocket, shedding tremendous humour in its wake. This is slapstick at its finest. Miriam Toews could not have done better."
-John Herbert Cunningham, The Winnipeg Review


" you have really captured (or rather released!) the old comedic spirit of the mennonite people - the largesse, the gathering in, the forgiveness, the magical primal call of the brommtopp, the earthy practicality of getting it on, staying alive, reproducing even if it takes the "gypsy in the attic...."

" and then the whole interesting dialogue between "high" and "low" and they way they are both part of the mennonite sensibility, and always in creative fluctuating dialogue with each other,

"and the way you cheerfully robustly comedically give away the earnest macho violent
honour codes of patriarchy in favour of creative (if messy) community at the end....

" and how cleverly you constructed the plot - and the most engaging characters and dialogue - to set us up for this extraordinary paradigm shift and transformation.....brilliant!"
-Di Brandt, poet, audience

"Such a wonderful character, that Blatz, always with his nose in the air and his brilliant eyes looking up into another world - then coming back down, bending low over the keyboard as he translates into music what he heard and felt. His performance was so elegantly physical. his dancing and prancing. Genius. And then there was Susch, wondering and questioning as she too searched the skies, longing to follow Blatz to that mysterious place. I absolutely loved Susch. And that red cheeked and devoted feet on the ground Obrum was so sweet. And of course Fraeulein Schellenberg - sitting staunchly like a buddha."
-Elizabeth Falk, audience

"I was at Armin's premiere last night -- I was Kevin's date. I was impressed. In the last month or so, I've seen homegrown plays by Sharon Bajer, Michael Nathanson and Michael Thau-Eleff. I thought Armin's was the strongest by quite a bit. His language has a real poetic quality, the narrative is engaging and the metaphoric content is clever indeed."
-Morley Walker, Winnipeg Free Press, email to Theatre Projects Manitoba
What audiences said about the Theatre Projects Manitoba production in 2011:
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