WorkShop Theater Company

www.workshoptheater.org

presents

Next Year in Jerusalem

by Dana Leslie Goldstein

Directed by Robert Bruce McIntosh

 

WorkShop Theater Company, NYC

October 8 -31, 2009

 

Scenic and Lighting Design DUANE PAGANO

Costume Design ANNE E. GROSZ

Sound Design DAVID SCHULDER

Production Stage Manager MICHAEL PALMER

Press Representative SCOTTI RHODES

Cast

Faustine Mendel – Jodie Bentley

Abraham Mendel – Burt Edwards

Young Abraham Mendel/Ari – Jake Robards

Anna Mendel – Elyse Mirto

Anna Netter – Sarah Romanello

Rachel Mendel Netter – Dee Dee Friedman

Lee Netter – Timothy Scott Harris

Dana Leslie Goldstein’s Next Year in Jerusalem opens WorkShop Theater Company's 2009/2010 season on a high note. A touching, sometimes funny new dramatic work set in modern-era New York, with flashbacks to Poland 1939, Israel 1948 and Brooklyn 1960, the play has some poignant moments.

The play centers on the Mendel family. Patriarch Abraham Mendel, faced with his own mortality, reflects on the choices of his youth. As Abraham, actor Burt Edwards is a force to be reckoned with. Seeming genuinely conflicted in his interactions with his two very different children, Abraham feels real. The play is structured with the typical good child/bad child family dynamic to add some tension to the mix. The stalwart older daughter, Rachel, seethes just below the surface, as the freer, wilder Faustine just cannot seem to get under control, drinking and talking too much, and stopping just short of a strip-tease at Seder. The formula works here, thanks to some good acting, including Jake Robards in a dual role as a young, conflicted Abraham, and as Ari, a potential suitor for Faustine.

The play deviates from the central action with plot complications involving the disintegrating marriage of Rachel and husband Lee, who also work together in Abraham’s business. If extraneous, one of the scenes between Dee Dee Friedman’s Rachel and Timothy Scott Harris’ Lee is also appropriately sad and played with authenticity. Diverting a bit from the central arc of the play, but well executed.

 

 Next Year in Jerusalem is a fine addition to this season on stage. It offers a relatable and moving portrait of a family. Robert Bruce McIntosh’s direction steady direction complements Ms. Goldsteins’s play, allowing for the various time periods to co-exist without confusion or chaos on the stage, and for the characters to take on a life beyond the page, engaging the audience from the moment the action begins.

- Kessa De Santis -

 

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