A manipulative Bishop, a heretical mathematician, a misguided rabbi a headstrong daughter and a golem striving to be human. That's the summary that Timothy Francis Herron offers in a strong performance as the seventeenth century Prague rabbi Low.
Kurt Hartwig's play Simplicity Itself is at the Bloomington Playwrights Project through this weekend. The rabbi has created a golem, an effigy of clay, played with a stolid eloquence by Marke Verne. The golem is to protect the Jews and the rabbi's daughter from the anti semitic ravages of the pogroms. Jennifer Biggio played the daughter, a woman ill in body but strong in spirit.
Dane Bolinger was a rock as Bishop Klesl, a man who skillfully but ultimately fails in his efforts to keep the local factions separate to save himself and Prague from the imposition of the Inquisition.
The Bishop seeks counsel from the rabbi, but relies most heavily on the mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler. Donald Aric Johnson as
Kepler portrayed a man who has to follow the results of his equations even as they lead to heretical conclusions.
John Kinzer's direction offers a good example of creative use of space, and minimal lighting in a black box. I especially enjoyed his mini rotating stage.
The Bloomington Playwrights Project's production of Kurt Hartwig's Simplicity Itself plays tonight and Saturday night at eight and Sunday at two.