Maxwell Lohmann, a one-hit wonder in the classical music world, is
suffering from a composer’s block – a block that has last ten years
since his brief moment of success when he composed a piano sonata
that had brief but meteoric success. Since that time, none of his
work has been in any way well-received. Max is desperate to repeat
his earlier success, mostly to prove to the cynical classical music
world that his achievement was not a fluke, or as been mooted by
some, a fraud.
He is visited by the charismatic Ronan Bramer, who claims to be the
great-great-grand-love-child of Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann.
The potential scandal that an affair between Brahms and the wife of
his friend might invoke is quickly overshadowed when Maxwell is to
ghost-write a sonata so that Bramer can gain instant fame. After some
persuasion and ultimately convinced by money, Max sets about writing
the piece. But he soon finds himself planning to betray the man and
publicly claim the work as his own.
Meanwhile, Max’s wife, Alicia, is having problems of her own. An
ageing stage actor, she in broad denial that she can no longer play
the lead parts she craves. Insult is added to injury when she is
visited by Niamh, her beautiful and talented understudy. Already
convinced that Niamh has designs on the enviable position in the
theatre company, Alicia sees this visit as a bold attack.
But Niamh regards Alicia as her hero and role-model and is oblivious
to the jealousy and bitterness felt towards her. Alicia tries to hide
these feelings but this becomes more difficult as signs of Niamh’s
treachery become more and more apparent.
Over a weekend in the couple’s grand but run-down country house, Max,
Alicia, Ronan and Niamh discover, both within themselves and in each
other, beauty and ugliness, pain and ecstasy, love and hatred, deceit
and, ultimately, truth.
‘Writing for Brahms’ is a 3-act stage-play that was considered for the Verity Bargate Award at the Soho Theatre in London. I am currently looking into producing it at a theatre in Dublin.