Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Name is Asher Lev

Last Friday I was able to attend My Name is Asher Lev, running currently at the Performance Network. It is running into September, giving plenty of time to catch a performance.

I was intrigued by the initial synopsis of the play. Coming from the arts, there is no shortage of stories about parental discomfort with life choices. Asher Lev, Mitchell Koory, experiences an extreme version of this, due to his hasidic upbringings. Looming in all decisions is his relationship with his parents. Naz Edwards and John Siebert play a series of roles including Asher's parents. While Koory didn't compel me to care for Asher, Edwards and Siebert were constantly captivating. They effortlessly switched roles, changing dress, demeanor and physicality. Siebert provided the comedy or the play as a drunk uncle or aging mentor. I found Koory tedious in comparison to the others. He rang the same melodramatic notes throughout his monologues, giving little life to Asher besides what was revealed in words. However, this is again forgotten when Siebert takes stage.

Something is promised with PN productions is detailed set dressing. There is consistent attention to detail that had me exploring the set before the play even began. But even behind the set, the PN had artists displaying their work. I was delighted to find one of my friends, Alex Mandrilla, photograph paired with interesting pieces from other local artists. It was a serendipitous way to end a pleasant night.

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