I haven’ wept so hard at a read-through in years. I wept for the comedy. I wept for the joy (of casting this thing so well). I wept for sadness surrounding and invading their lives. All the topical hardships.
notes to follow. here’s just the beginning:
Our season was born out of a recognition that we live in a more starkly partisan society than ever, and that we crave unity, and healing, and common footing as a community more than ever.
So what are the stories that will bring us together?
What are the stories that we need to hear when we’re blue? Or when we can’t see the light. Or when we can’t see other people’s suffering because we’re so wrapped up in our own?
If times of affluence and ascendancy, a theater’s function may be to prick the conscience and open the blind eyes of denial.
In times of anxiety and descent, our purpose could indeed be exactly the same. But our strategies for opening the hearts of our audience and causing the scales to drop from our eyes may be radically different.
And so we’ve done something radically different here in saying yes to LOST IN YONKERS.
We’ve gone and searched for a show that will lifts us up and still keep us trained to the anguish we are at once dealing with and trying to rise above.
We went looking for AWAKE AND SING – the perfect play for a Great Recession as much as it was for the Great Depression of Clifford Odets and the Group Theatre’s day.
But a definitive, quite Jewish production of the play was done in 2006 at Arena Stage that still lingered dearly in the mind. We needed to reach out to another play with deep roots.
And so we found a play about family. About war and fear and tyranny in the home and economic deprivation.
We came upon LOST IN YONKERS.
It would be our AWAKE AND SING…
An American Tale for a new version of the immigrant family – spread out but forced to live under a single roof.
It’s a play by the most successful contemporary living American playwright. And it’s his most highly regarded, richly rewarded play. Even though it never got a rave from the respective papers of record in New York or DC.
Neil Simon hasn’t needed much championing from us. but we make the case for him just the same with this production
As this is 21st century Simon: What’s changing isn’t so much our approach to his text, but the CONtext surrounding the play.
We’ve changed and we are ready to receive this play in new ways.
Here are staff perspectives on the play (to be continued…. together with my own personal associations witht the character of Bellla)
but as i said… more soon…