We’re just four weeks out from OPEN: The New Jewish Theater Residency at the 14th Streey Y, and we here at the Jewish Plays Project are thrilled to introduce you to the artists who are remaking the face of Jewish theater. But first, print this out, because we don’t want you to be confused. You’ve got six chances to be a part of OPEN:
All shows feature our insanely fun Txt2Thtr technology, so bring your cell phone and be part of the show! (Seriously, this whole endeavor is about opening up the process to you, the viewer, so you can tell us where we have it right, and where we need to keep looking. These 50 artists have something they want to say, and you can help them say it in a way that is powerful and contemporary and awesome.) So, without further ado, here’s Project Coordinator Arielle Parkas’s first resident artist interview with Zohar Tirosh-Polk.
See you at the Theater!
David, Becky, Ronit, Ben, Josh K., Josh B., Arielle, Dede, Kara and the entire OPEN Staff
Zohar, your play SIX was the winner of the 2012 JCC Metrowest Jewish Playwriting Contest, the prize of which was getting to take part in the OPEN Residency. Can you tell me what it was like on the final night of the contest?
We didn’t know what we were getting into! Of course Six had some rehearsal time but not all the rehearsal time we would want in the world to do this thing right and so everyone was excited and nervous. But the actors just succeeded in doing an amazing job and I think that the three plays ended up talking to each other in surprising and fascinating ways. It turned out to be a really rich and well thought out evening of theater and the cherry on the top was that Six won which was unexpected and so wonderful.
Well we are all so excited that you did because it means we get a chance to see more of SIX! Part of the mission of the Jewish Plays Project is to advocate for plays that embrace and investigate the intersection of Jewish identity and the secular self. How does SIX fit into that mission?
Six both embraces and investigates our relationship with Israel, and those intersections where Israel is both a contemporary place and a holy land, and a historical and political place as well as a home. Six is about the beauty and complexity and the allure and the difficulties of Israel right now and relating to Israel from the American perspective as well as from the Israeli perspective. For me at least, my relationship with Israel is an ongoing process and it encompasses a deep deep love and many other complex feelings that involve guilt and longing and shame and a profound connection.
I can’t wait to see how you further continue to investigate these themes during the residency. What are you most excited for about that upcoming process?
I am most excited to be working with such an amazing team of incredibly talented people!
Ian, the director, has worked with me on Six from its first draft. We are really looking forward to a more fully staged and embodied version of the play moving towards a production – it is a very exciting moment for us as collaborators. Ron Guttman is an amazing actor and producer who has also been working on the play since that first reading. Ron, along with some of the other actors, were part of the team that helped Six to win the JCC Contest. Hani Fursteberg, who is been in many many Israeli TV shows and plays and films will also be joining us.
It’s going to be like a big love fest reunion!
Directed by the New Group’s Ian Morgan
When an ex-pat Israeli returns home with her American boyfriend, they are both changed by the echoes of the past and the beauty and spirit of the present. Intertwining stories highlight connections between the complexity of Modern Israel and the fight for peace at the end of the 1967 war. Previous readings were held at The New Group, Cape Cod Theatre Project and San Francisco’s Magic Theatre.
OPEN is generously supported by a grant from the UJA-NY Federation Commision on Jewish Identity and Renewal’s Gen i Task Force, the Louis T. Roth Foundation, and private donors. The Jewish Plays Project is grateful for the partnership of JCC Metrowest (Alan Feldman, Executive Director, Carol Berman, Director of Arts) and the PresenTense Group.
ABOUT LABA: LABA is a Jewish house of study for culture-makers located at the 14th Street Y. 10 fellows — a mix of artists, writers, dancers, musicians, actors, and others — partake in a yearlong study of classical Jewish texts centered around a theme, and then interpret these texts in their work.