That’s where we are, folks. Three weeks through rehearsals on the English language premiere of a hit Israeli play by Hadar Galron called MIKVEH. What the heck’s a mikveh, you wonder? Well, this is why G-d invented websites, our theatrical website, especially, filled with lots of interesting material to give you the underpinnings as to what we’re exploring.
It’s nine days since we closed IN DARFUR. Tomorrow we’ll debrief about it at our Theater J Council meeting. We’ll reflect on some extraordinary days and nights in the theater; on playing to strong houses, well-attended, bowled-over by the power of an urgent work. 15 post-show discussions were convened. It was too much for us to document. We couldn’t keep up in the chronicling department, but we kept up organizationally and as a producing team with the intellectual and artistic demands of the show. Review the list of panelists here. And know that this show has been invited to perform in Manhattan, Upstate New York, and at Harvard University sometime this fall. Can we reconvene the team? Perhaps over Monday-Tuesday days off for the busy working actors in the cast? We shall see.
But now we’re on to MIKVEH which began rehearsing while DARFUR was running. And we’ve reached out to community as never before. Now when I say “the community,” in this case I mean “the religious community.” And we’ve reached out because we’re presenting the lives of seven religious women on stage, and an 8th secular Israeli Jew who’s persuaded to try the mikveh on, what will become a continuing basis.
The play has aroused its share of trepidation; a sense of hesitancy (at best) because of a fear that the play might be too negative; that it might show orthodox Judaism in a negative light; or creative negative associations with the mikveh ritual. I’ve been reaching out to the religious community in an attempt to share the play’s heart; its vigor; its reverence and its fierce critique of abuse. What will the verdict of the religious community be?
No doubt a mixed and complicated, split verdict. And with theater goers? The same? An emotional knock-out winner?