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May 02, 2003 - Image 75

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-05-02

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

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To STAGE from page 70
finds fulfillment in stage collabora-
tions whether working with other
writers, actors or designers.
"The Chosen was a very unique kind
of collaboration and one I think was
very effective," Posner says. "Chaim
had adapted his own work before, and
he had written a play. Although he
had experience in the theater, it was
not the core of what he did, so he was
very respectful of my work.
"The adaptation happened over six
months. Mostly, I took the material
and shaped it into the scenes and
structure of the drama. He responded
to that, giving me suggestions and
feedback, and we would meet and dis-
cuss things. We never compromised.
We discussed until we agreed."
As Potok and
Posner worked
together on The
Chosen, they
realized they
had been chosen
to celebrate the
same birthday.
At the time, one
was twice as old
as the other.
"Chaim
turned 70 on
the day I turned
The late Chaim Potok
35," Posner
recalls.
"My goal was to fulfill the vision that
he had set out with his book written at
the time he had been my age. Together,
we shared a vision to have the story
speak to a contemporary audience.
"No two-hour play can hope to
capture all of the textures of a novel,
but what will tell me that I have done
my job well and engaged members of
the audience is if they want to go out
and read The Chosen or other books
Chaim had written." ❑

PAGE

The Chosen will be performed May
7-June 8 in the Aaron DeRoy
Theatre in the Jewish Community
Center in West Bloomfield.
Performances begin 7:30 p.m.
Wednesdays, Thursdays and
Sundays; 8 p.m. Saturdays; and 2
p.m. Sundays. There will be extra
matinees 12:30 p.m. Wednesday,
May 21, and 2 p.m. Thursday,
June 4. There is no performance
June 5. $18-$30, with discounts
for seniors and students. On
Sunday, May 11, any mom attend-
ing with a son or daughter will be
admitted free. (248) 788-2900.

- 7.

JEWISH VOICE

from page 71 -

percent non-Jewish. With support
and interest from local church-
based organizations and the nearby
community college, his troupe
manages to present plays with
Jewish content that, he says, grap
ple with Jewish questions.
To answer these Jewish questions,
Arnichai Lau-Lavie of the New
York-based troupe Storahtelling
goes straight to revered sources —
the Torah and Talmud.
"My mission is to revive the old-
est Jewish theater in existence, the
Kriat Hatorah — the calling out of
the Torah, not the reading," Lau-
Lavie explains, referring to the
weekly Torah service familiar in
every synagogue.
As a storyteller, I unabashedly
bring art, entertainment, showbiz
into the synagogue and blur the line
because the religion is obviously in
dire need of a facelift," says Lau-
Lavie, who began Storahtelling four
years ago as a program of New
York's Upper West Side's
Congregation B'nai Jeshurun.
There's a great opportunity here to
take Torah out of the synagogue and
bring the stage into the synagogue."
In Takoma Park, Md., another
theater director, choreographer and
MacArthur "genius" grantee Liz
Lerman, searches for ways to erase
the hierarchy between stage and
spirituality.
Lerman began her Dance
Exchange after hearing a rabbi com-
plain that he was tired of Jewish
artists wallowing in shred-based
Eastern European images. "Our iden=
tity cannot be forged only in
response to the horrible things that
have happened to us," she says.
Orbach came back from the con-
ference exhilarated and energized.
"The international aspect was a
delight, as well as enlightening,"
she said. "I had no idea there was
an Austrian Jewish theater, and 20
Jewish theaters in England."
The embassies of Austria, Israel
and Canada were among those
sponsoring dinners and receptions
for the international conference.
"It represents an opening of vis-
tas for Jewish theater that this
small organization would receive
this recognition internationally,"
Orbach said. El

Sta f f Writer Diana Lieberman
contributed to this story

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75

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