Jane Fonda has always been the kind of woman both my mom and I admire: Strong, smart, glamorous. Today we saw her together, playing the dying mother figure in 33 Variations, at the Ahmanson. Fonda’s performance was everything we hoped it would be — better, even. This is a hard, painful role, not an easy star turn. Moises Kaufman’s play is in part about the relationship between a high-achieving mother and her daughter, so it was doubly interesting to see with Mom. Plus, Fonda’s a musicologist. Lots of levels here for both of us.
Fonda was just one of the highlights of this smart, layered play about Beethoven. The sets, by Derek McLane, were stunning. All the cast was good, but I especially liked Greg Keller as the flighty, sweet nurse. I was also fascinated by the concept of Beethoven’s variations, which seem like modern versions of the remix. Who owned the copyright on these pieces? Were they registered at Creative Commons?
Plus, heh heh, we saw Jane’s boobs.