Cowley teacher Cervantes to appear in 33 Variations at Ponca Playhouse

PONCA CITY, Okla. — Students at Cowley College know Marlys Cervantes as the humanities department chair and creative writing instructor. But some might be surprised to learn Cervantes also is an accomplished actress who will appear in the upcoming Ponca Playhouse production of 33 Variations on Nov. 10-12 and Nov. 17-19 in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Cervantes has been involved with the Ponca Playhouse since the mid-1980s and this is her 23rd role in its productions. 33 Variations is a drama about Beethoven by Moises Kaufman, directed by David Guinn. Cervantes landed the role of Dr. Katherine Brandt, a musicologist who is studying a particular segment of Beethoven’s work. The drama moves between scenes in the 1800s and present day, when Cervantes’ character comes into play. Late in his life, Ludwig van Beethoven took an unremarkable waltz theme written by Anton Diabelli and used it to create one of his greatest masterpieces for piano — the Diabelli Variations. Two centuries later, Brandt, a musicologist in the early stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, struggles to discover why such a genius would spend so much energy working with mediocre source material. The parallels and contrasts between Brandt’s and Beethoven’s lives fuel this drama as it shifts between the past and present. “The historical facts the drama is based on are really interesting. However, what drew me to audition for...

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