|Evelyn Rubenstein JCC Presents Staged Reading of Belfast Kind|
|Tuesday, February 18, 2020|
It’s 1982 in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, where everything about life is uncertain. Political upheaval and violence color almost every aspect of daily life, and Catholics and Protestants are virtually at war with one another. It is against this background that Zippy, the only Jewish student in her school, is about to become a Bat Mitzvah. What could go wrong? While her friends accept her for herself, they have their own conflicts to deal with and are clueless about Judaism and Jews. Zippy just wants to fit in, so it’s no surprise that she challenges her parents and Bat Mitzvah tutor about even becoming a Bat Mitzvah, adding further tension to the mix. Will she go through with it? Will her friends remain close with each other? With Zippy? These are just some of the questions explored in the play, Belfast Kind, winner of the Jewish Plays Project’s 2015 Jewish Playwriting Contest. Now the play is receiving a staged reading at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center’s (the J’s) Theatre at the J on Tuesday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Theatre at the J is now completing its third year of involvement with the Jewish Plays Project (JPP), a national organization promoting, exploring and facilitating a nationwide conversation on the latest trends in Jewish-themed theater, largely through its annual Jewish Playwriting Contest. In addition to participating in the reading and judging of the plays in the contest, Houston’s Theatre at the J is also partnering with JPP as a laboratory in the development of these new, Jewish-themed plays. In its 2019-2020 season, Theatre at the J is offering two plays that have won JPP’s annual contest. September 2019’s co-production with The Ensemble Theatre of Joshua Ford’s play, City of Good Abode, included talk-backs with the author, who in turn received the opportunity to fine-tune his script after attending performances. Its March 3 staged reading of Belfast Kind will similarly present opportunities for JPP’s scripts to reach audiences around the country.
Belfast Kind’s cast includes four 13-year-old girls, all of whom have received training and performed in productions of the J’s children’s theatre program, Jewish Community Center Stage Performing Arts (JCCS). These talented young actresses, Ari Berman, Josie Goldfarb, Myaan Sonenshein and Addison Wolf, bring vivid life to the characters, who echo some aspects of their own lives. In fact, three of the girls have had or will have Bat Mitzvahs of their own during the show’s rehearsal process!
The remaining actors in the play, Laura Astrich (Zippy’s mom, Eva), Chris Poole (Zippy’s father, Mo) and Nathan Wilson (her Bat-Mitzvah tutor, Adam Asher) are members of Houston’s professional theater community. Narrating Belfast Kind is production stage manager, Scott Lupton, a veteran actor and stage manager of numerous plays at several of Houston’s professional theaters.
The dynamic, often provocative/sometimes funny and moving staged reading of Belfast Kind, will have only one performance, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in the Kaplan Theatre at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Theatre, 5601 S. Braeswood, 77096. For information or to purchase tickets, please visit the J’s website at erjcchouston.org/theatre or call 713-551-7255.
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