The Jewish Women’s Theatre & Next @ the Braid does a consistently brilliant job of having actors play the writers’ true stories. The show was produced by Ronda Spinak, artistic director; and Abbe Meryl Feder, Next Executive Producer; and directed by Lisa Cirincione. When an actor portrays the writer’s work, and the writer is siting right there in the audience, it is a surreal experience indeed. Such was the case
in a recent presentation of “Guilty Parties,” when writer Courtenay Edelhart watched Nadege August recite the story about her adopted son in “Save the Last Dance for Me.”
States Edelhart, “ she was telling my life story and I was crying simultaneously!” As comedienne/performer Judy Carter sat with the idea of guilt, and the story of finding true unconditional love, she so appreciated being accepted by the audience, and in turn, this show helped her eradicate her own sense of internal guilt.
As so many of us may find ourselves guilty in one situation or another, and quickly push it away, the ensemble of actors onstage (Rosie Moss, Judy Carter, Chelsea London Lloyd, Nathan Bock, and Nadege August each took a new take on the concept of guilt, revealing both positive and negative aspects of this once taboo topic. The subject matter truly is of a universal nature, appealing to millennials and beyond. Always incorporating a new layer, a new dimension, each piece can be interpreted individually, with the performer vividly bringing the writer’s words to life onstage.
At the Q&A following the show I attended, a profound question was introduced: “How much of yourself do you bring into the performance? Do you bring your own guilt into someone else’s story.” There was quite a consensus amongst the ensemble that within each monologue there is obviously inherent conflict and self questioning. Interestingly, each performer felt he/she learns something new every time and may even try the line a new way or nuance at each show.
While the topic of guilt resonates with us all, with each individual story unique yet universal in one, the style and format of Jewish Women’s Theatre is quite special, and different from any other theatre venue.
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