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April 06, 1990 - Image 76

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-04-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I ENTERTAINMENT

Season 89/90
your Premiere place for theatre

MEADO \‘'•B R () 0 K

T

HE

A

T

R

E

THE
IMMIGRANT

A moving new
play about the
author's grandfather,
a Russian Jew,
who immigrated
to Galveston, Texas
in 1909.

a Hamilton CountyAlbuin
by Mark Harelik

Conceived by
Mark Harelik
and Randal Myler

"A sterling production!"

— Edward Hayman
The Detroit News

March 29 - April 22

Call 377-3300

for ticket information
V/MC
FLEX • TIX good for this show

Presented in cooperation with

A cultural program of Oakland University

LUNCH 11 a.m.
DINNER 4 p.m.

David Breitbarth and Pauline Lepor in "The Immigrant."

The Immigrant: A Gentle
Reminder Of The Past

NOW SERVING
GOURMET PIZZA AND FRESH PASTA
AS A COMPLIMENT TO OUR
CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN CUISINE
Entertainment By: REFLECTIONS

EDWARD KARAM

Special to The Jewish News

j

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78

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 1990

ews: Hester Street.
Warsaw. Kovno. Lodz.
Hamilton, Texas.
Whoa! Hamilton, Texas?
Well, yes. One Jew. Haskell
Harelik, an immigrant from
Russia, arrived 1909, joined
later by his wife Leah. The
Immigrant, playing at the
Meadow Brook Theatre
through April 22, is a tribute
to him — and to the im-
migrant experience, really —
by his grandson, Mark
Harelik, an actor and play-
wright.
Subtitled A Hamilton
County Album, The Im-
migrant is really a series of
vignettes over 30 years that
follow Haskell and Leah and
their relationship with the
town's banker, Milton Perry,
and his wife Ima. From an in-
itial distrust and skepticism,
Haskell (David Breitbarth)
and Milton (John Sterling Ar-
nold) become business part-
ners, then friends, then, alas,
strangers. Along the way
Haskell and Leah struggle to
hold on to their Jewishness.
As Pauline Lepor's bewil-
dered Leah tells Ima, "If it's
something you believe, you
can't just throw it away. It's
part of you. And once that is
gone, what am I?"

No child should be denied
correct diagnosis and proper
treatment . Support the
Dysautonomia Foundation.

Dysautonomia Foundation Inc.

3000 Town Center, Suite 1500,
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Edward Karam is a graduate
student at the University of
Michigan and a theater critic
in Ann Arbor.

Fresh off the boat and in
black peasant garb, her eyes
darting like a frightened rab-
bit's, Lepor shows us Leah's
consternation in this strange
land. Her overriding concern
is identity. "I married a Jew!"
she reminds Haskell. "Look
at you! Is your head covered?
When did this stop? We don't
eat kosher." Her worry is that
of every immigrant who has
come to America. And
Haskell's response is the solu-
tion by many: "So we don't
keep kosher. Where would we
buy? My head is uncovered? I
don't want to be strange,
either. Do you think God will
hate me for that?"
But Haskell and Leah hold
on to private customs, obser-
ving Shabbat and planting
trees at joyous times. And, in
one of the play's best scenes,
Leah and Ima discover how
much they have in common,
as some salt is spilled and
each woman, worlds apart in
culture, pitches some over her
shoulder.
Harelik's humor is gently
satirical — he gets double-
edged mileage out of prover-
bial Jewish tightfistedness as
Haskell offers Milton $3 for a
room, then, thinking better of
it, drops his offer to $1. Later,
Milton (John Sterling Ar-
nold), pleased at having loan-
ed Haskell the money to ex-
pand his business, is sudden-
ly embarrassed at his own
prejudice as he mutters, "You
don't jew me and I won't jew."
Serious tensions are kept

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