Dissonance Strikes a Chord at the Falcon


The Bradley Quartet: From l, Paul (Skip Pipo), Beth (Elizabeth Schmidt), Hal (Peter Larney), and James (Daniel Gerroll) in the West Coast premiere of “Dissonance” at the Falcon Theatre.

Jenny Cavilleri (Ali MacGraw) in Love Story perhaps had it right all along: “She loved Mozart, Bach, and The Beatles.” When you have classical music, then add rock ‘n’ roll into the mix, combined with rich, eloquent dialogue, you have a potential powerhouse. Such is the case in Dissonance now at the Falcon Theatre.

Beth (Elizabeth Schmidt), a member of a quarreling string quartet filled with personal tensions, takes on the challenge of mentoring a successful rock star, Jonny (Jeffrey Cannata). She poignantly states, “Your song is the newest written, yet it speaks to me, like the oldest music we know.” Like in the musical Once, of stage and screen, it’s a story of a roving, inquisitive rock musician who strikes up a conversation and possible love affair with the sensitive cellist, and sparks ignite.

From comparisons and contrasts of a Stradivarius violin to Jimi Hendrix’s electric guitar, the two find more in common than they initially thought. Many rock stars, from Bono to Paul McCartney, go back to the roots of classical music to discover what it’s all about.

Each musician onstage has a voice to express, yet when blended together, they overshadow all dissonance.

An aha moment onstage occurs: “We’re all in this together, musicians, troubadours, living off our wits.” As we, the audience, all searching for harmony in this dissonant world of ours, listen to the live music onstage, soothing the soul, along with the inspiring, original lyrics, we tend to hold on to that harmony, in a Zen-like trance, ‘til the last notes ring.

The play shares the important moral message that we’re all humans on this planet, yet must agree to disagree. When you get four musicians in a room, you get five-plus opinions. Therein lays the human dilemma.

There’s truly no perfect solution: no matter the most tranquil music or idyllic setting, human music/interaction is, at best, cacophonous.

Dissonance runs through March 4 Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. Falcon Theatre is located at 4252 Riverside Dr. in Burbank. For tickets call (818) 955-8101 or visit www.falcontheatre.com.

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