Israeli Stage presented the American Premiere of Anat Gov’s Oh God as its 2013-14 Season Premiere at the Goethe-Institut Boston, followed by performances at Boston University, Brandeis University, Brown/RISD Hillel, Cornell University, Emerson College, Hebrew College, Ithaca College, NewBridge on the Charles, Northeastern University, Temple Beth Shalom, Temple Isaiah, Trinity College, Wellesley College and Wheaton College. Performances at Cornell, Ithaca, NewBridge and Northeastern were in honor of Marlyn Katz Levenson (z”l), loving wife of Rabbi Paul Levenson.
In 2014-15, Israeli Stage brought back Anat Gov’s Oh God thanks to popular demand with performances at Babson College, Congregation Mishkan Tefila, Dartmouth College, Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, Holy Cross College, JCC Greenwich, JCC Manhattan, Lesley College, University of Maryland, New York University, Temple Beth Elohim, Temple Beth Zion and Temple Emanuel.
Touring performances at college campuses were sponsored in part by the Israel Campus Roundtable, CJP and StandWithUs.GOD: Will Lyman, Elliot Norton Award, IRNE Award and Best of Boston winner ELLA: Maureen Keiller, IRNE Award winner
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Guy Ben-Aharon
SYNOPSIS: In this witty, poignant and touching play, a psychotherapist named Ella, single mother of an autistic child, gets a visit from a new, desperate patient, God.
ABOUT ANAT GOV: Playwright Anat Gov passed away in December 2012 after a long battle with cancer, leaving a significant imprint on Israeli theatre with six plays: Best Friends, Lysistrata, Househusband, Oh, God, A Warm Family and Happy Ending.
WGBH | Open Studio with Jared Bowen: Producing Artistic Director Guy Ben-Aharon (“What the show offers is that God is the little gifts that we give one another and I think that’s a beautiful message“) and Actress Maureen Keiller (“The audiences are so smart! It’s so amazing how engaged they are; it’s really great“) went on air to talk about Oh God, Anat Gov and what Israeli Stage means to them. Segment begins at 5m45 at WGBH.org
WBUR: “The play revolves around Ella, a psychologist and single mother, who receives God as a new, floundering patient intent on having just one session. The concept sounds either existential or twee at first. But Ben-Aharon helped the two seasoned actors mold to tweak the English translation to suit, which in turn helped the piece as performed by Lyman and Keiller feel intimate. The pairing proved so successful and the show so resonant that it went on tour to more than a dozen locations…” read more at artery.wbur.org
The Washington Post: “It isn’t every day that an American stage director has the notion of producing an Israeli play and taking it on the road. But Guy Ben-Aharon isn’t every American stage director. Tired of hearing laments about the myriad ways that plays aren’t reaching the public, Ben-Aharon decided he would breach convention and fashion his own unorthodox circuit…” read more at WashingtonPost.com
The Jewish Advocate (2013): “Ben-Aharon is directing two of Boston’s best actors in the staged reading: three-time IRNE Award winner Maureen Keiller as Ella, and Norton Prize honoree Will Lyman as G-d…” read more at TheJewishAdvocate.com
The Jewish Advocate (2014): “As for the future, Ben-Aharon said, ‘I am sure Oh God is a show we will do for seasons to come. Audiences love it, the actors love it and Israeli Stage loves it…’” read more at TheJewishAdvocate.com
The CT Post: “Ben-Aharon believes that experiencing the theater and music and art of countries other than our own ;makes us better world citizens…'” read more at CTPost.com
The Arts Fuse: “This is a delicious script, ably translated and full of great lines that reflect the way characters, phrases and situations from the Tanach (the Old Testament) imbue daily life and culture in Israel in a way that is accessible to audience members who know nothing about the country. I very much hope a local theater will work with Ben-Aharon on the full production that Oh God deserves…” read more at ArtsFuse.org
Israel National News: “Guy Ben-Aharon, director and producer for Israeli Stage, is bringing one of their plays on East Coast tour to universities and synagogues. Audiences are invited to stay and talk after the play, and for Ben-Aharon, the play’s drawing power for the young is what interests him most…” read more at IsraelNationalNews.com
EdgeBoston Review: “Lyman imbues every inch of God with vulnerability and humanity, giving us a much more complicated view of The Deity and expressing the humanist sentiment that the best parts of our personalities are brought out not through our talents but through our flaws…” read more at EdgeBoston.com
EdgeBoston Feature: “Do theatre goers know that throughout the year they can listen to professional staged readings of the world’s most vibrant, contemporary international drama?…” read more at EdgeBoston.com