New Theatrical Show and Art Exhibit Features Powerful Stories of Letting Go and Liberation in a Re-Examination of Passover
As Jewish people across the globe begin to prepare for the Passover holiday, Jewish Women's Theatre (JWT) in Santa Monica will shine a contemporary lens on the story of Exodus with a new performance and art exhibit opening March 10.
Passover is a remembrance of the liberation of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt, but it is also a time to reflect on modern enslavements and personal challenges. JWT's new show, "Crossing Our Red Sea," will express, through contemporary stories-both dramatic and comedic- that the timeless Biblical saga holds truths that remain alive and relevant today.
Inspiration for the stories that JWT will perform on stage began with a day of study. "Rabbi Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue taught a group of writers and artists the Exodus story, looking deeply at the haggadah (the book that guides the seder or Passover service)," explains JWT's artistic director Ronda Spinak. "After examining the texts, writers and artists were asked to write stories or create art pieces, that reveal their deepest truths, expressing how the themes in the teaching resonate in their life today," Spinak added.
Audiences will hear stories about a naughty cousin who scared grandma by pretending he was Elijah the prophet, who is invited to drink the glass of wine that is poured for him at every seder. They will laugh about a mother's serious trauma when she found that her six-year old son had head lice, one of the ten plagues that God brought down on the Egyptians when the Pharaoh refused to free the Israelites from slavery.
Other stories relate the story of Passover to heartbreaking divorce, eternal anti-Semitism, and how the traditional song, Dayeinu, that means "it would have been enough" relates to endless emails, wrinkles, computer crashes and other annoyances of life in 2018. JWT favorite and star of the Off-Broadway hit Not That Jewish, Monica Piper, has written an original piece for the show.
A stellar cast has been assembled for this show including comedienne and writer Melanie Chartoff, (the voice of Didi Pickles on Rugrats and a cast member of the ABC show Fridays), actors Kate Zentall, Tiffany Mualem, and AJ Meijer, (NCIS:LA and New York's smash hit, Heathers: The Musical). Eve Brandstein, veteran JWT director, will direct.
In addition to the performance of "Crossing the Red Sea," The Gallery @The Braid will present a new companion exhibit featuring works by several artists including Laurie Gross, whose work addresses loss-- reflecting recent Santa Barbara fires and mud slides--who also attended the study with Rabbi Feinstein. Opening night is Saturday, March 10 at 6:30 pm with an art talk by many of the participating artists at 7:00 pm. There is no charge for the art exhibit nor the art talk.
"Crossing Our Red Sea" will be performed from March 10 - April 7 at The Braid, 2912 Colorado Ave. #102 in Santa Monica and in ten locations throughout the Los Angeles area. Tickets are $40, pre-sale, $45 at the door. For a complete listing of all locations and dates, visit: www.jewishwomenstheeatre.org and click on "Buy Tickets."
JWT, recently voted "Best Live Theatre on the Westside" by The Argonaut, stages and displays traditional and contemporary works and educational programming that provide a forum for the development, performance and documentation of Jewish artistic talent. Now celebrating its 10th Anniversary, JWT's salon theatre of original dramatic shows, each written to a specific theme, displays the diverse and eclectic community of writers, artists and creators who comprise L.A.'s Jewish community. Learn more about JWT at: www.jewishwomenstheatre.org.