Friday, April 17, 2015

"The God Box" by Antonia Lassar at New Rep - Storytelling of the Highest Order - Through April 19

In her one woman show, "The God Box," under the Direction of Christine Hamel, Antonia Lassar conducts a Master Class in storytelling.  Using her own personal spiritual pilgrimage as a launching pad, she tells the tale of a young woman who begins with Judaism and ends up having explored a widely divergent potpourri of religious expressions and belief systems.

The conceit is that this pilgrimage has been very private and under the radar of her Jewish parents. The mother only discovers what path her daughter had trod after the daughter's sudden death.  Cleaning out the daughter's apartment, the mother discovers a "God Box" full of mementos of the various stations of the cross of her daughter's spiritual journey. Each item becomes a totem that sends the mother on her own exploration to try to understand what her daughter had been searching for - and with whom.

Ms. Lassar portrays each character with enough differentiation that we know exactly who is speaking at any given moment..  She begins the play by recounting an old Yiddish tale about a village of idiots, Chelm, and the chief idiot, Schlemiel.  It is a wonderful tale that foreshadows a moving denouement when the mother finds something written in a Bible her daughter had placed in the God box..

Antonia Lassar
"The God Box"
New Rep
Through April 19

The storytelling was so good that it immediately made me think of the legendary Sholom Aleichem - pen name of Russian storyteller Solomon Rabinowitz, some of whose tales were the basis for "Fiddler On The Roof."

This play is not only technically brilliant, but also emotionally and spiritually rich.  One cannot put God in a box, but one can certainly place there icons of one's search for the deity.

If you can find your way this weekend to Watertown and New Rep's Black Box Theatre, you just may have a spiritual experience.

New Rep Website



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