A New Year’s Greeting (and Round Up: Past Year’s Blessings, and Current Production Raves)

Shana Tova.

Today marks the start of Rosh Hashana, and we wish you all a happy, healthy and restorative new year.

It’s a momentous confluence of religious and civic observance we’re about to experience, as the Jewish holiday overlaps with the Muslim observance of Ramadan and our nation’s own remembering of the tragedy of 9/11; a weighty and potentially contentious time.

As Wednesday’s Backstage feature in The Washington Post points out, our season opening SOMETHING YOU DID brilliantly captures a similar convergence of symbolic forces and speaks directly to the High Holiday themes of reckoning and atonement; about the difficulties and still important value of confronting our past mistakes and looking to build a more constructive future.  The play, with all its wonderful performances, delivers a  humane portrait of a very contentious character who went too far in her political activism and now seeks a second chance.  We couldn’t be any more proud of the way our production is presenting this portrait of our times.

And we couldn’t be anymore appreciative of the opportunity we’ve had this past season to make art with heart; dramas in step with our moment, reflecting on the meaning of community, responsibility, identity, and, yes, thanks to Spinoza, even God.  What a nourishing dramatic diet we’ve been savoring;  from the deserts of Darfur, to the waters of the mikveh; from the living room above the candy store in long-ago Yonkers, to the skylight in the ceiling of Zero Mostel’s Manhattan studio; from Judy Gold’s rosy TV memories to Andy Warhol’s layered portraits of Jewish luminaries, we’ve gotten to connect with ourselves and each other, with our community and our history.  We’re lucky to be here and to have each other, all engaged in the dramatic endeavor of telling stories about our times and our community, then and now.

* * *

A ROUND UP OF REVIEWS FROM THE LAST FEW DAYS…

The Washington Examiner “A provocative, powerful narrative at Theater J”

Washington City Paper praise comes with tiny dollop of snark, but we’ll take the great stuff.

Washington Jewish Week raves 
come with a headline in two languages!

3 STARS from METRO WEEKLY
Revolutions: Something You Did looks at the frustrating nature of the past and those things that simply cannot be undone

Great profile on Theater J Associate Artist in Residence, Rick Foucheux, in addition to all the good comments from Washington Life.

A more critical reading from The Forward‘s Menachem Wecker

“Good drama!”
A good review! On Channel 69 from Rich Massabny

And… as our friend Joel Markowitz reminds me (cause I always like to leave THE BEST FOR LAST — even if it means waiting a couple days to post it!), the biggest rave for “Something You Did” came from reviewer Hunter Styles from DC Theatre Scene: “Like many of the best shows produced at Theater J, Something You Did is an unabashed examination of moral ambiguity and sociopolitical contention, acted with brains and zeal by a pitch-perfect cast. Is it reprehensible to grant Alison an early parole for her bad decisions, or do we forgive her her sins after decades of penitence? Should domestic terrorists ever be pardoned? No question raised in this piece brings an easy answer, but we’re in great company as we try to feel out the fault lines… The language is eloquent without growing grandiose, sharply pointed but shy of pedantic, and deeply upsetting without reaching for maudlin. Characters have much to pity and grieve, but – here’s the miracle – they listen as much as they speak. It’s through their genuine engagement with each other that we really listen too. And, by the end, our brains are ringing like symphonic instruments. Could we ask for a more perfect image of American discourse? “I keep expecting humans to be humane,” Alison sighs. Pass the sign-up sheet.
Read the entire review here:
http://dctheatrescene.com/2010/09/07/something-you-did/

3 thoughts on “A New Year’s Greeting (and Round Up: Past Year’s Blessings, and Current Production Raves)

  1. Thanks for noting my piece. I’m not sure why you assumed it was “from another political perspective.” Also, please note I’ve been writing for the Forward since 2005 (see here). I’ve only published one story with the NY Jewish Week (in 2005). Perhaps you’ve confused me with someone else?

  2. The biggest rave for “Something You Did” came from reviewer Hunter Styles from DC Theatre Scene: “Like many of the best shows produced at Theater J, Something You Did is an unabashed examination of moral ambiguity and sociopolitical contention, acted with brains and zeal by a pitch-perfect cast. Is it reprehensible to grant Alison an early parole for her bad decisions, or do we forgive her her sins after decades of penitence? Should domestic terrorists ever be pardoned? No question raised in this piece brings an easy answer, but we’re in great company as we try to feel out the fault lines… The language is eloquent without growing grandiose, sharply pointed but shy of pedantic, and deeply upsetting without reaching for maudlin. Characters have much to pity and grieve, but – here’s the miracle – they listen as much as they speak. It’s through their genuine engagement with each other that we really listen too. And, by the end, our brains are ringing like symphonic instruments. Could we ask for a more perfect image of American discourse? “I keep expecting humans to be humane,” Alison sighs. Pass the sign-up sheet.
    Read the entire review here:
    http://dctheatrescene.com/2010/09/07/something-you-did/

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