I find there is always a let-down period after a production finishes when I don’t want to do anything at all. This is one. A little chapter in my life has closed, and I don’t feel the creative energy to begin a new one just yet.
We had two performances, March 7 and 12, and in our 40-seat theater we got 28 people one day and 20 the next. That’s a decent turnout, but I expect I would have done better if I had not thoughtlessly scheduled the Sunday performance for Purim afternoon, the most festive day on the Jewish calendar.
No matter. On the whole I was very pleased with our cast, headed by a remarkably talented young actor named Tim Oriani, and our director Christopher Erlendson. No question we could have used some additional rehearsal time, as Chris had to step in almost at the last minute for an actor who had unavoidable work conflicts, and basically our opening night was our first full run-through. As a result he had no opportunity to see the whole show from the front, and I would have liked some tightening of the transitions between scenes. But we had both performances video-recorded, and perhaps I can edit the videos to improve the continuity.
The play is my attempt, as a non-believer of Jewish heritage, to get into the mind of a young person of unshakably devout Orthodox faith. The play tackles questions that every Jewish person encounters at some point in their life. Is true friendship possible between a Jew and a gentile? What do you do when an attractive person not of your faith comes on to you? Or when a family member leaves the faith entirely? Can the talented young music student David Lindenbaum survive in a secular society while remaining true to his faith as a Modern Orthodox Jew?
Presenting the play led me to see some weaknesses in the script, but I think the basic premise is sound. You can see a couple of trailers here:https://www.facebook.com/events/1746803358981396/permalink/1767898303538568/
Tim wrote as follows: “On March 7th and 12th I'm starring in this lovely play at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre! It's been a wonderful experience in character, religion, and creating new works.” Chris wrote to the cast, “We don't have many full-length plays with these kinds of characters and this kind of spiritual meaning in NYC.”
And here are some other comments I received:
“Last night, I was presented with a charming story in an intimate setting about many things, from the positive emotional power a religion can give oneself, misconceptions about cultures and ways of life around us, how they affect our connections, family, real world vs. the one you thought you were in, etc. It was lighthearted and provoked some thought in me.”
"Hi Larry, I wanted to write to you and let you know how much I enjoyed the show last night. The play was absolutely incredible, thank you. As someone who has only recently started observing all of the mitzvot of Judaism, but who identifies as modern orthodox, I really identified with Dovid and the other characters. I think my favorite part was when Dovid was listing all of the positive, wonderful things about Judaism. Unfortunately these gems sometimes get buried under all of the negative commandments we must follow, and I think if we spent more time on the positive commandments, we would get much more out of Judaism."
“Saw A KREUTZER SONATA tonight at Manhattan Rep Theater. Amazing work! Striking, fast paced, and entertaining. Really delves into the subject of the American-Jewish experience.”