Israeli Stage presented the American Premiere of Fertile as its Season 7 Premiere, asking jarring questions through an Israeli lens.
PLAYWRIGHT Yakir Eliahu Vaknin | TRANSLATOR Natalie Fainstein | DIRECTOR Guy Ben-Aharon | FEATURING Ramona Alexander* | DIALOGUE Dr. Joshua Safer, Dr. Joyce Antler, Professor Adrienne Macki
A young woman’s struggle to live fully as a woman
Fertile, a one-act monodrama based on a true story, deals with blurring the lines of gender identity. Fertile was born with a gift – she was born without a uterus. An inherited genetic abnormality makes her barren at birth. Throughout her life, she is marked by society and by herself as faulty and defective. At 26, following a romantic encounter with the man of her dreams, Fertile decides to reexamine the “broken” parts of her life, and sets on a journey of healing herself. Her journey makes her confront all sides of her femininity and her right to exist as a woman, despite her inability to fulfill the basic female mission, bringing children into the world.
Presenting partners: NewBridge on the Charles, Temple Israel of Boston, University of Maryland’s Gildenhorn Center for Israel Studies
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The Arts Fuse Review: “Many contemporary cultural commentators, especially homegrown critics, are a bit too concerned that theater present “our stories” – they forget that drama is often at its most powerful when it elicits empathy with narratives about experiences of people who are different from us, who experience the world in a disparate way. In the capable hands of Alexander and Ben-Aharon, Fertile does just that…” …read more at ArtsFuse.org
JewishBoston Feature: “Israel’s trailblazing drama on gender, identity and womanhood…an important, relevant conversation!” …read more at JewishBoston.com
The Huffington Post: “Passionate performance…This play, while focusing on one woman’s story, tells us some universal truths.” …read more at HuffingtonPost.com
Washington Jewish Week: “Israeli Stage tackles tackles issues in translation…” …read more at WashingtonJewishWeek.com
Yakir Eliahu Vaknin is an actor, director and playwright based in Tel-Aviv. After graduating from the Goodman Acting School in the Negev, he started working as a freelance director and playwright, directing his own work; a short play entitled Service, a short musical entitled Yakir for Rent, a musical written for the youth city choir of Be’er-Sheva entitled Pretty in a Red Dress and Fertile– a monodrama that went on to be staged at the Israel Festival and is now part of the repertory at Tmuna Theatre.
Joyce Antler is the Samuel Lane Professor of American Jewish History and Culture and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Brandeis University Emerita. She is the author or editor of 10 books, including The Journey Home: How Jewish Women Shaped Modern America; You Never Call! You Never Write! A History of the Jewish Mother; and the prize-winning documentary drama, Year One of the Empire. She is currently writing a history of women’s liberation and Jewish feminism.
Dr. Joshua Safer is an endocrinologist and Medical Director of Boston Medical Center’s new Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery. He is also an Associate Professor of Medicine and Molecular Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine where he is the Director of the Endocrinology Fellowship Training Program.
Photography: Justin Saglio | Poster Design: Anya Vedmid