Explore Beethoven’s Obsession with Nicholls Players Performance

Devin Griffin leads Rhea Grigsby,Cullen Boudreaux, Brennyn Galliano and Samuel Pitre in a vocal warm-up before a rehearsal. The Nicholls players are putting on four performances of "33 Variations" next week. (Rodney Woods/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls Players invite you to a time-shifting performance exploring one of Beethoven’s obsession in “33 Variations.”

In the early 1800s, a composer invited his contemporaries to create a variation of a simple waltz. The legend goes that Beethoven declined the opportunity at first, but later became obsessed with it. So much so that over three years he created 33 variations on it. 

“33 Variations” explores what compelled Beethoven to create these distinctive pieces. Viewers will travel back in time with Beethoven as the works are being composed. But they will also stay in the present as musicologist Katherine Brandt explores this obsession through his writing. 

The waltz, by Anton Diabelli, has been criticized for being predictable. It lasted 45 seconds while some of Beethoven’s variations can be 45 minutes or longer.

The play also features themes on Beethoven’s growing deafness, Brandt being terminally ill and her relationship with her daughter.

The play’s author, Moises Kaufman, said at the time of the play’s release that Beethoven becoming so inspired by “32 bars of nothing” would be like Philip Glass spending four years making variations of a Britney Spears song. 

Performances will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21, and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 22 in the Mary and Al Danos Theater.

Tickets, cash only, are $15 for the public and $7 for students. They will be available at the door, which will be open an hour before each performance.


MEDIA CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@nicholls.edu

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