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October 24, 2013 - Image 43

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-10-24

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

Joseph Seibert and Henrietta

Hermelin Weinberg rehearse
for 4000 Miles.

4000 Miles explores evolving

grandmother-grandson relationship.

I

Suzanne Chessler

Contributing Writer

A

my Herzog brings a lot of
personal experience to her
play 4000 Miles, a finalist for
the 2013 Pulitzer Prize.
The aged and feisty grandmother,
Vera, is based on her own grandmoth-
er, Leepee Joseph, an outspoken com-
munist who had worked as a secretary
for famed actress Mary Martin.
The young adult grandson (Leo),
based on a cousin, is visiting with his
grandmother after returning from a
long bicycle trip comparable to one
taken by the playwright.
The relationship revealed by the two
comes across as the young man stays in
the grandmother's small apartment. It
intensifies as he reveals the loss that is
troubling him.
The new play, being featured by
theater companies around the coun-
try, will be presented Nov. 6-Dec. 1 by
Jewish Ensemble Theatre at the Jewish
Community Center in West Bloomfield.
Directed by Christopher Bremer, the
production stars Henrietta Hermelin
Weinberg as the grandmother and
Joseph Seibert as the grandson. Also
in the cast are Lydia Hiller (Bec) and
Arianne Villareal (Amanda).
"I never recorded my grandmother,
but some of these stories I heard so
many times I knew them verbatim,"
Herzog told the San Francisco Chronicle
about the reality at the base of her dra-
matic comedy.
Bremer's direction emphasizes the
connection between people whose age
range spans 70 years.
"These two characters connect on a
level they never anticipated," Bremer
explains. "It becomes a sweet story
about one of the strange paths of life.
Acceptance of one another becomes an
important component:'
Weinberg is familiar to theater audi-
ences throughout the state and has
appeared in many JET productions.
Recent work for other companies has
included White's Lies at Meadow Brook

Theatre and The War Since Eve at the
Performance Network Theatre in Ann
Arbor.
Seibert, who has portrayed Peter
in The Diary of Anne Frank, lists
his favorite roles as Tim in Joe
Zettlemaier's Ebenezer, Baylis in
Blackbird, Jerry in Zoo Story and Col.
Rick Daring in SpaceCano. He gradu-
ated from Western Michigan University
with a bachelor's degree in theater per-
formance.
"I think this play is family- and
issue-oriented, and audiences will
relate to the emotional depth on many
levels," Bremer says. "The characters
are caught up in lives moving at a faster
and faster pace, and that is adding to
the complications they face.
"The characters are aiming to find
out how they fit in, and that involves
struggles affecting their relationships
and how they react to each other:'
The playwright, married to director
Sam Gold and a new mother, started
her theater career as an actress. The
character of Vera was introduced in an
earlier play, After the Revolution, which
examines three generations of a com-
munist family.
"I did feel very strongly about writ-
ing an older character with the dimen-
sions that I observed in my grand-
mother," Herzog told Slant magazine.
"I do think there's a way that older
people can just disappear. I feel, in a
very pronounced way, my own grand-
mother's fight to remain present and
relevant:'

NIG

T

THE JEWISH E TAL CLINIC

AN UPSCALE EVENING OF CASINO-STYLE GAMING
FEATURING PRIZES, ENTERTAINMENT BY

MEL BALL MUSIC

AND A UNIQUE CULINARY EXPERIENCE BY

QUALITY KOSHER CATERING

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2013 ♦ 6:00 P.M.
AT CONGREGATION SHAAREY ZEDEK

COUVERT $200 PER COUPLE
INCLUDES ADMISSION, FOOD, OPEN BAR, AND GAMING CHIPS

R.S.V.P. AT WWW.JDCMONTECARLONIGHT.ORG

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 248-497-6224



4000 Miles runs Nov. 6-Dec. 1
in the Aaron De Roy Theatre at
the Jewish Community Center
in West Bloomfield. Performance
times are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays,
Nov. 6 and 27, and Thursdays
(no performance on Nov. 28);
5 and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays; 2
p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, and
Sundays; and 7 p.m. Sundays,
Nov. 17 and Dec. 1. $41-$48.
(248) 788-2900; jettheatre.org .

1858810

October 24 • 2013

43

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