xArts Club Theatre Company
The Piano Teacher by Dorothy Dittrich

Dates and Venue
April 20 – May 14, 2017, Tues – Thurs at 7:30pm, Fri & Sat at 8pm, Wed at 1:30pm, and Sat and Sun matinees at 2pm | BMO Theatre Centre, West 1st Avenue

Reviewer Karen Fitzgibbon

The Piano Teacher takes us inside the mind of a woman, Erin (Megan Leitch), who has been impacted by the loss of her family members. She was a concert pianist and now she has to find a way to move on with her life. Erin comes to Elaine (Caitriona Murphy) for help to be able to play piano again. It has been two years since her loss and now it’s time.

The stage design was thoughtful. Single wires hung down to set the perimeter of the stage giving it the effect of glass. We see a sophisticated room with white couch and a grand piano representing piano teacher, Elaine’s home and on the other side is a stair well and landing representing Erin’s home.  So the play moves back and forth to each stage set easily.

Elaine makes a wonderful piano teacher by attempting a soft approach-- familiarizing Erin with the piano stool again, placing it as Erin’s seat at the table in order to have tea. Elaine eventually asks Erin with help on her (Elaine’s) song and entices Erin to play the song with her. It may be a trick but a successful one.

Returning home, Erin meets her contractor to cut out a new window in her home. Tom (Kamyar Pazandeh) plays the  perfect down-to-earth guy and an attraction between them begins to develop. Erin is secretive about her life and Tom makes an attempt to draw her out.

Pazandeh plays the part of Tom with depth and warmth and is so believable. Elaine is sensitive to Erin’s challenges  and together with her humor makes us like her. Leitch finally lets loose her emotions and moves the audience to feel empathy and understanding of her loss and her desire to move forward. Playing the piano and having a new love will no doubt spiral her to new heights.

As the MC introduces the performance we immediately think, "Oh, oh, we can barely hear him," and so it went throughout the entire performance. We strained to hear 50% of the dialogue. Other patrons around us were having the same issue. I hope this note will be of some help for their future performances.

The play is a good therapy lesson for any audience members in the field of music. The storyline is good but I wish I could hear all the lines.

© 2017 Karen Fitzgibbon