On her daily blog, Jane Fonda describes the play she’s now performing in — 33 Variations — which I’ll be seeing this afternoon with Santa Barbara Film Festival director Roger Durling, who’s in town for a few days.
Bobby Zarem, casting director Bonnie Timmerman, Jane Fonda and “screenwriter Scott” following a performance of 33 Variations
“I play a musicologist of today who is obsessed with figuring out why Beethoven, at the height of his powers, spent 3 years writing 33 variations on a mediocre waltz written by a music publisher in 1819,” she writes. “My character is passionate in her quest for understanding, [in part or largely because] it’s a race against time for her to get a paper written on the topic and delivered to a conference because she’s sick. Beethoven, who’s also a character in the play, is also obsessed with finishing the variations because he is becoming deaf.
“Obsession, passion — these are things I love in life. The fact that people can grow old and become sick and yet their passions remain undimmed. Some of the greatest artistic works and achievements throughout the ages, have been done by people late in life — Monet, Cezanne, Degas, Matisse, Beethoven, Michelangelo, Albert Schweitzer and many others.
“Age and infirmities are as important as we allow them to be. No question that things change as we age. There are the aches and pains. Like jalopies, hub caps fall off, fenders get bent, and we keep on, making a life inspite of it…a life that, as Beethoven and others showed us, can be enriched by these corporal challenges. This play I’m entering touches on this.
“I’ll be doing this play for five months. I could be real scared. I mean, 8 shows a week after 45 years [away from the stage]! But I’m choosing to think of it as an adventure, a challenge. A friend of mine who’s 76 says that at this age you’re supposed to be retired, not looking for new adventures and that I and my friends are unusual. I don’t agree.”