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‘My Name Is Asher Lev,’ In Bloomington

...when you come back to a show it gets deeper and more mature and more mellow.

Phoenix-Asher-Lev-Asher-Mot

Photo: Phoenix Theatre

Bill Simmons, Wendy Farber and Michael Goodson

Event Information

My Name is Asher Lev

play by Aaron Posner based on Chaim Potok's novel


Bloomington Playwrights Project

Sat., June 11 at 7:30, Sun., June 12 at 2 pm, and Thu June 16 at 7:30, 2011

Sunrise Box Office

Bloomington-based actor, coach, teacher and director Martha Jacobs brings her Phoenix Theatre production of My Name is Asher Lev to the Bloomington Playwrights Project’s theater, as a project of the Jewish Theatre of Bloomington. It’s a show that Jacobs has special affection for.

A Universal Story

“I love this show,” Jacobs says. “First of all, I love the book. I was amazed that this adaptation is as good as the novel is. I was a bit wary about somebody making a play about it—but Aaron Posner [who adapted it for the stage] has done a great job.”

Though the protagonist is a Chassidic Jew, Jacobs believes the show will attract viewers of all creeds. “It’s a beautiful story, a universal story about becoming who we are, at the possible cost of hurting the people that we love. It’s not just the son or daughter who disappoints their parents by not becoming doctors or lawyers. It’s a Chassidic Jew who wants to become a painter, an artist.”

Demanding Roles

“The play itself if mostly dialogue, but there’s a lot that goes on,” Jacobs explains. “Asher Lev speaks to us throughout, and when he goes into scenes that have happened to him previously we’re into regular theater. It’s a big, big part for Asher Lev, and Michael Goodson does it beautifully.”

Goodson is not the only talented actor in the bunch, says Jacobs. “We got so lucky with this cast. It’s such an actor-dependent show. The actor who plays Asher plays himself throughout. The other man, Bill Simmons, who plays Asher’s father also plays the rabbi, Asher’s mentor, and one of his uncles. Wendy Farber plays Asher’s mom, along with several other very different roles. They are magnificent. All three of them are just terrific.”

Real Artists

Jacobs is incredibly pleased with the level of her actors’ craft. “It’s very exciting,” she says. “I was gifted with these three people who are not only perfect for their roles, but who—all three of them—have wonderful work ethic. They are real artists, they just keep getting deeper and deeper. In fact I’m very excited to see this incarnation of the production, because they’ve had some resting time since October-November when we ran the show in Indy. When you come back to a show, it gets deeper, more mature, more mellow. I’m very excited about this go-round.”

George Walker

After completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

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