Israeli Stage’s March 2012 Campus Tour was the regional premiere of Apples from the Desert by Savyon Liebrecht. It was held at M.I.T. on March 17th, Brown University on March 18th, Hebrew College on March 22nd (photo credit to Nir Landau), Boston University on March 23rd, Harvard University on March 25th (photo credit to Q Lam) and Northeastern University on March 28th.
DIRECTOR: Guy Ben-Aharon
REUVEN: Dale Place
VICTORIA, REUVEN’S WIFE: Kathleen Donohue
SARAH, VICTORIA’S YOUNGER SISTER: Sheila Stasack
RIVKA, REUVEN AND VICTORIA’S DAUGHTER: Rebecca Schneebaum
DOOBY, RIVKA’S BOYFRIEND: Grant MacDermott
A romantic comedy about Victoria and Reuven, Orthodox Sephardic Jewish parents from Jerusalem whose only daughter, Rivka, runs away from home to live on a kibbutz with a secular Ashkenazi named Dooby, after she finds out her father’s plan to marry her off in an arranged marriage. The story then follows the two Orthodox Jerusalem sisters, Victoria and Sarah, who set out on a mission to retrieve Rivka. With a comic, generous and hope-filled spirit, Savyon Liebrecht sketches the life of a young Israeli woman who falls under the shadow of terrifying social rifts – the ethnic rift between Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews and the religious rift between religious and secular society. By the end of the play, Liebrecht enables the audience to discover the possibilities embodied in a future that transcends these rifts, and a time and place where women are free to choose their religious commitments and love interests.
SAVYON LIEBRECHT was born in Munich, Germany, in 1948, to Holocaust survivor parents. She studied philosophy and literature at Tel Aviv University and started publishing in 1986. Liebrecht has published six collections of short stories and novellas and two novels. She has also written multiple plays, all of which have been staged, and a number of TV scripts. She has received awards for two of her TV scripts, the Alterman Prize (1987), the Amelia Rosselli Prize for Mail Order Women (Italy, 2002), the Maior-Amalfi Award for A Good Place for the Night (Italy, 2005) as well as Playwright of the Year for her plays It’s All Greek to Me, Apples in the Desert, Rohale’s Getting Married and The Banality of Love.
Broadway World: “Beginning Israeli Stage in November 2010, Ben-Aharon hopes to fuse our preconceived notions of Israel with the realities of Israeli culture, in order to create an innovative theatrical experience for the Boston community and beyond…” Read more at BroadwayWorld.com
Harvard Arts: “Born in Israel, Guy Ben Aharon is the producing artistic director and founder of Israeli Stage, which is currently touring Apples from the Desert by award-winning Israeli playwright Savyon Liebrecht…” Read more at Harvard Arts
Jewish Journal: “Israeli-born producer/ director Guy Ben-Aharon is captivating thespians, educators and audiences with his vision, theatrical skill and knowledge. He’s a young man with a burning mission that’s catching on like wildfire — to connect American audiences to Israeli narratives, producing Israeli plays, with English-speaking American actors…” Read more at JewishJournal.org
The Arts Fuse: “Israeli Stage’s readings are consistently the best attended in the Boston area thus demonstrating that there is a great appetite for Israeli culture beyond folk dance and hummus…” Read more at ArtsFuse.org
The Jewish Advocate: “Ben-Aharon, producing artistic director, is blessed with a strong ensemble of seasoned and young actors. Dale Place conveys Reuven’s volatile emotions, as he shifts from rage to reconciliation. Kathleen Donohue brings out Victoria’s inner strength as her love for her daughter emboldens her to stand up to domineering Reuven. Sheila Stasack supplies insight as well as humor as the supportive Sarah. Rebecca Schneebaum balances Rivka’s conflicting desires to build a future with Dooby and to honor her parents. Grant MacDermott’s understated work as nonjudgmental and loving Dooby is a standout. In introducing the 90- minute , Ben-Aharon said, “At a time when women’s rights are being challenged around the world and in my native country of Israel, it’s important to make sure women get their rights.” Each in her own way, the three women of “Apples from the Desert” assert their independence…” Read more at TheJewishAdvocate.com
JewishBoston.com: “This past week, our Cambridge group got to meet with the three other Eser groups at Hebrew College in Newton. We began with a delicious kosher pizza dinner and schmoozing followed by an Israeli Stage performance of “Apples from the Desert.” It was an amazing play about an Orthodox Sephardic Jewish family living in Jerusalem whose daughter moved away to live on a kibbutz with a secular Ashkenazi boy.” Read more at JewishBoston.com
The tour was sponsored by the Israel Campus Roundtable, and was hosted by M.I.T. Hillel, the M.I.T. Center for International Studies, Brown/RISD Hillel, Brown Israel Committee, Brown Middle East Studies Department, Eser: Top Ten Jewish Innovations, Hebrew College, CJP’s Commission on Jewish Life and Learning, Boston University Hillel, Harvard Hillel, Northeastern Hillel, Northeastern World Language Department, and Northeastern Jewish Studies Department.