GENIUS(by Chopin) is a play interlaced with a piano recital. We call it a concert drama.

The play is about the talent/gift/potential that we all have and how our surrounding affects to  manifestation of it. It is about the struggles before our potential can be released and show itself in the shape of a vision/innovation/work.

The play consists of six scenes from different times and places all over the world. Frederic Chopin with his life and music, being played live on stage, is our metaphor and the main stone that we build the play upon.

While a little girl in Tokyo is struggling from loneliness, she finds power in Chopin’s childhood. A young artist in Istanbul’s political chaos in 1981 finds inspiration in Chopin’s Revolutionary etude. A young girl in 1920 takes a step towards discovering her true vocation with some help from death, Chopin and Jazz…

Genius within us, and Chopin

What does being a genius mean?

a) Being smart

b) Being creative

c) Being unusual

d) Being crazy

e) Being talented

f) All of the above?

How many of you have at least one of these signs, characteristics in you? Or if not you, doesn’t your child come up with a crazy creative, smart, and unusual way to solve a problem every once in a while? I bet he/she does that very often.

Now another question;

How many people really inspire you with their choices, visions, life styles or creations? Not the people you read about, I’m talking about the people you live with, you see almost every day; your neighbors, classmates, colleagues, family members… If almost all of us have the gift of creativity, smartness, talent, and even craziness in us, why isn’t the world a better place? Why don’t we have more geniuses around us?

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Pablo Picasso

So, we can say that it is not only the pure talent that would make us a genius. Because as our friend Pablo puts it nicely, every child is an artist. Every child has the potential to be the genius of his/her time. The problem is how to remain one as we grow up. Because it is the endurance, hard work, resistance, and openness that let the talent grow into brilliance.

“Hats off gentlemen! A new genius!” shouted a young music enthusiast in Leipzig. He had the score of a new piece by Frederic Chopin in his hand. He sat down at the piano and started to play the piece while everyone, including Robert Schumann, in Caffebaum listened to him silently. In his short life, often interrupted by his poor health, Chopin composed more than 200 pieces for piano. When we consider all the other highly acclaimed classical composers of his time, composing only for the piano could be something that many people would look down to. However, whenever someone played his music, or let’s put it this way; whenever Chopin started to talk, he made his case. His sincere, open-hearted, sentimental and yet solemn melodies spoke to the listener, directly about beauty.  This chat continues for centuries between Frederic and us.

However Chopin is no hero, and his life was no fairytale. He spent most of his life complaining from loneliness, away from his country, in places that he could barely speak its language. His humorous character grew grumpier and grumpier as his body weakened through the years. He wasn’t good looking, wasn’t rich, he didn’t own any property, didn’t have any children. He was nowhere close to being “the boy next door”. He could easily be forgotten in the history of humankind. He had only one thing; his music. During the war between Russia and Poland, he was away from home, in constant worry and grief. “And I here unoccupied! And I am here with empty hands! Sometimes I only groan, suffer and despair at the piano! ” he wrote to his journal. Is it only his talent that made him a genius, or his endurance and ability to hold on to something meaningful to him?

The genius of Frederic Chopin is our foundation, our corner stone in this theatrical concert. While following his life story with its successes, longings, hesitations, loves and losses, we are witnessing the lives of others from different times and places from all around the world. Some of them have gifts to be discovered, to be fought for, and some of them are waiting for an inspiration to take the first step. With his music, Chopin will be there for them to give inspiration, strength and sometimes challenge.

Ege Maltepe

A drawing by Frederic Chopin “Landscape with a Windmill”

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