JOIN THE LAUGHTER
"A rich... modern history ofEast European Jewry."
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N T DARKNES
and B.J. Love
118 NORTH MAIN STREET
rin by JOSEPH
NOW PLAYING • Call Theatre or
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A flight of fancy well worth taking.
admit that Bernie Madoff, the
ruthless perpetrator of the biggest
Ponzi scheme in history, has never
had a place in my imagination. I never
thought about what went on inside the
man who engaged in such large-scale
deceit with no apparent regard for the
hundreds of people whose lives he
ruined. So I'm grateful to playwright
Deborah Margolin for Imagining Madoff,
turning her vision into a play that is as
fascinating on stage as it is in retrospect.
The story explores the
world of the financier-
the perspective of three
characters: Bernard Madoff (B.J. Love);
Solomon Galkin (Robert Grossman),
a fictitious writer, Holocaust survivor
and victim of Madoff's scheme; and a
nameless secretary (Sandra Birch), who
is testifying against Madoff.
While the story is rooted in fact,
what transpires is primarily the writer's
fantasy of the man before and after his
arrest and eventual incarceration.
All three characters are on stage
throughout the performance, which
runs 90 minutes without intermission.
Set and Lighting Designer Donald Fox
has created three sets in one, with the
action alternating between the charac-
ters and their respective backdrops.
Madoff and Galkin act out their
mutual scenes in Galkin's study during
a long evening filled with drink and
discussion. When they are not together,
Madoff talks to an unseen reporter
from what is presumably his jail cell,
while Galkin stands at a lectern reading
from one of his many religious tomes.
The secretary sits in a witness stand in
front of a large American flag.
The interaction between Galkin
and Madoff comprises the majority of
the play, and it is here that the guts of
the story are found. Between glasses
of Scotch whiskey, the two men dis-
cuss weighty subjects that include the
Holocaust, the Bible, the Talmud, love,
marriage and desire. Their conversation
is fraught with symbolism and subtext.
Author and Holocaust survivor Elie
Wiesel, whose charitable foundation
invested money with Madoff, was one
of the original characters in the play;
however, when Wiesel saw the script, he
criticized it vehemently and demanded
that his name be removed. Margolin
complied and created the fic-
tional Galkin instead to repre-
sent one of the many righteous
and undeserving men whom
Director Yolanda Fleischer is known
for her work on projects focusing on
social injustice, and she brings that
sensitivity to this production as well. It
is a credit to Fleischer and to the actors
that the audience remains captivated
by a play that consists mainly of words
and very little action.
All three actors give superb perfor-
mances. Love portrays the energy and
anger that Madoff likely embodied, and
Grossman is excellent as the tortured
yet still pious Galkin. The secretary is
the least developed character, but Birch
conveys the shock, remorse and latent
guilt that a woman in that position
might well have experienced.
Props by Diane Ulseth and costumes
by Christa Koerner add authenticity
without distracting attention from the
actors. The play is punctuated with
excerpts from three appropriately
themed songs: "Money for Nothing"
by Dire Straits, "Money" by Pink Floyd
and "Money, Money" from the musical
Cabaret, courtesy of Sound Designer
$4.99 lunch specials
Monday-Friday 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Pulled pork sandwich
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Excluding tax, tip and beverages • With this ad
Dine in only • Expires 11/15/11 JN
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ORCHARD LAKE RD. SOUTH OF 14 MILE
Farmington Hills • 851-7000
•Our Speciality Low C
JET presents Imagining Madoff through Nov.13 at the Aaron Deroy
Theatre inside the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield.
Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays; 5 and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays; 2 and
6:30 p.m. Sundays; and 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9. $36-43, with discounts
for students and seniors. (248) 788-2900; jettheatre.org .
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Farmington Hills • Corner of Grand River & Haggerty Road
Auburn Hills • 1 1/2 miles south of the Palace of Auburn Hills
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October 27 • 2011