Friday, October 1, 2010

"Hard Love" Rehearsal Process

I am attempting to move into the 21st Century, and thought it might be fun to blog about the rehearsal process  - we'll be starting Tuesday night, Oct. 5.
I chose the play "Hard Love" for a number of reasons.  This will be the first Israeli play we've done!
I've met playwright Motti Lerner a number of times at Jewish theatre conferences and have always been impressed.  He's one of Israel's foremost playwrights - and a nice guy as well!  I saw a scaled-down performance of the play at last year's Jewish theatre conference in New York - and was immediately struck by it.  It deals with the conflict between the ultra-Orthodox and the secular in Israel - as seen through the eyes of an Ultra-Orthodox woman and her former husband, now a secular man.   But it could just as easily be Romeo and Juliet, the Hatfields and McCoys or remember Patches from the 60's song - she lived on the wrong side of the tracks?  I think most non-Jews think that a Jew is a Jew, but there are zillions of degrees and differentiations and all. 
I thought the play would bring up subjects that aren't generally brought to light through theatre, and so it intrigued me.  And yes, I must admit, it's relatively easy to produce since there are just 2 characters!  I knew I wanted to direct it.
We were very fortunate to cast 2 of the best - Eric Schoen, who was in last year's "Fools" for us - and Lesley Tutnick-Machbitz, whose worked I've admired for a long time.  They are both such pros, and so dedicated - they're already working on getting off book (having everything memorized), which will make my job that much easier.
We've all been doing research of the Meah She'arim area of Jerusalem where the first act takes place.  The name means "a hundred-fold" or "a hundred gates." It's one of the oldest Jerusalem neighborhoods outside the walls of the old city.  It was settled by about 100 families in the 19th century.  Its members are Haredi (or Charedi) - the most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism.

We'll be calling upon Sharron Topper-Amitai from the Israel Center to give us "insider" details - but I'm amazed at all you can find on the internet.  We found a photo of the signs that are everywhere at the gates of the area pleading with outsiders to respect their ways- we're hoping to be able to make one large enough to use on stage.

So with any luck, I'll be adding to this blog on a regular basis, and you can share the rehearsal process with us!  The show previews on Oct. 28 - and yes, tickets are on sale now!