Photo by Don Kellogg

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bad Jews

Joshua Harmon's new play just got promoted upstairs! Roundabout moved the bitingly funny play from the black-box theater downstairs to the Laura Pels stage for a run during their 2013-2014 subscription.

The play centers around 3 cousins gathering in NYC on Riverside  Drive the during the funeral and Shiva period after their grandfather's (Papi's) death.  Central to the evening's controversy is uber-Jew, Daphna (aka Diana) Feygenbaum, (Tracee Chimo) who seemingly thrives on divisiveness and contentiousness ("We're not arguing, we're talking" she explains at one point).  She clearly dominates her introverted cousin, Jonah Haber (Phillip Ettinger), and clashes head-on with her nemesis and other cousin (and brother of Jonah), Liam (aka Shlomo) Haber (Michael Zegen).  Molly Ranson plays the mousy girlfriend, (Melody) of Liam who unwittingly ends up being the reason for much of the angst-ridden family debate and vitriol.

It's a cauldron of Jewish issues of cultural assimilation, religious beliefs (and the ones chosen to be ignored), and most of all, family.  Everyone, Jewish or not, can find a nugget of family in this play despite the specifics of this plot.  By the end of the 1:35 minute run you'll be exhausted yet relieved at the same time.  You can only take so much family time at once, after all.