Robert Montgomery calls his Subject To Fits not an adaptation but "a response to Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, smacking of The Idiot, dreaming of The Idiot, but mostly taking off from where The Idiot drove it."
Prince Myshkin, a pure soul just released from an epilepsy clinic, is thrown into the mad whirl of St. Petersburg society. His child-like honesty steals the hearts of two competing women: the aristocratic Aglaya, and the decadent Natasha; and wins the dark friendships of the men: a murderer, a consumptive, an alcoholic, a hopeless mediocrity and a toady. But his innocence flails against their fitful intensity. He suffers two seizures of ecstatic vision followed by nightmare lows. After the first, he realizes, "An enormous upsurge of happiness has completely dispirited me." After the second, try as he might, he can't take in any more and retreats to catatonia.
The whole play, it turns out, is his catatonic consciousness trying to fit these events together through music and shards of memory.
This is a music theater work with much dark comedy. The music is basic, in a Brecht-Weill musical style, written for actors who can carry a tune.
"Absolutely thrilling – a soul trip, an adventure of the heart and mind. A joy to encounter, a play to cherish." - The New York Times
"Wonderfully comic, fascinating and full of intelligence. The songs erupt from characters who look like they’ll perish if they contain their feelings one second longer." - The Village Voice
"Astonishing dialogue, remarkable music, beautifully logical. It moves on the tide of that rarest of energies – inspiration. Young American theater at its best. " - Time Magazine