A QUARTET FOR FIVE IN MIDDLETOWN

opusEric Walby, Charles Deitz, Heather O’Scanlon, Bob Mira and Blll Rogers make beautiful (and otherwise) music together in OPUS at the Navesink Library Theatre in Middletown.

Now enjoying a record-setting 58th season in Middletown, the Monmouth Players – under the banner of the Not Necessarily the Players – bring up the lights and music for strings Friday night on an ensemble piece that was done by Two River Theater Company a little over a year ago: Opus, the “quartet for five” by classical musician turned playwright Michael Hollinger.

The 2006 drama shows the blown cues and flat notes behind the beautiful music made by the fictional Lazara String Quartet, a “collection of passionately incompatible personalities” whose delicate equilibrium is upset when their most brilliant member must be replaced prior to a major public appearance.

Over the course of some 80 fast-moving minutes, the chamber players “bicker and bait each other, threaten bodily harm, storm out of recording sessions, break their own rule about romantic entanglements, name-check Peter Frampton, betray secrets, write ransom notes, perform at least one shocking act with a priceless antique — and make gorgeous, passionate music with each other; the actors miming to pre-recorded selections by Bach, Beethoven and Bartok.”

Frequent Players Charles Deitz, Bob Mira and Eric Walby co-star alongside Heather O’Scanlon and Bill Rogers, and all performances are at the fully renovated and charming Navesink Library Theatre, with each show offering a justifiably famous spread of homemade desserts.

Navesink Library Theatre, Sears and Monmouth Avenues, Middletown • 8:15pm/ $17. Also Sunday, December 4 at 2pm. Continues through December 11.