These are my true colors…shining through. My true colors…and that’s why I love every production of the Jewish Women’s Theatre even more than the last one! Each of their poignant vignettes manages to leave no Jewish story untold or untraced. In “True Colors,” the stories vividly take each character back to his/her roots, much as Alex Haley in Roots, inspired many of us to pursue family genealogy and lineage. In Jewish Women’s theatre productions, the goal is to honor the written and spoken word, sans lavish sets or costumes.
The show opens with a beautiful violin solo (Katherine Washington) “I’ve Gotta Be Me,” bringing memories of the late great Sammy Davis Jr, apropos to the show’s theme on Jews of color. The universal question of “why can’t I simply be seen as human? is a running theme throughout. In “The Color of Love,” based on a memoir of a mixed race Jewish girl, written by Marra Gad, and performed by Brie Eley; Heidi Mendez; and Kimberly Green, a baby is of “milk chocolate” color, “made in the image of God.” Every story shared a common theme of living in an ideal world, a utopia where all are color blind, viewing one another with rose colored glasses only. One humorous story, written by Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl, and performed by Kimberly Green and ensemble, cleverly retells of a Korean take on Passover maror, in “Kimchi on the Seder Plate.” These stories resonate with audience members in today’s world with our profound need for inclusion and diversity. Producer Eric Greene spoke in the post show q&a: “the actors inhabited their characters with flesh and blood, and to see it brought to life is a phenomenal task of portraying the complexity and humanity of their stories.”
So many voices were represented, so many authentic feelings, so many soulful renditions, a true collaborative Jewish rainbow.