Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Becoming Israel in LA, California

By Jonathan Riddleberger

Storah On The Road

The sun in LA was beautiful for our 30 hour stint in the City of Angels. A fitting nickname seeing as we were there to perform, Becoming Israel, Storahtelling's examination of the story of Jacob wrestling with a mysterious Angel. We were hired by Hadassah to perform the show for their 94th annual convention taking place this year at the Westin Bonaventure in LA. We arrived at the hotel and were welcomed by fountains shooting water arches over walkways, free lemonade, and beds that I swear were made of clouds. The night was spent seeing old friends. We had close interactions with the homeless of LA and wiled the night away watching two uplifting hours of Intervention.

The morning snuck up on us and we were rudely awakened by alarm clocks and wake up calls. Reluctantly we left our clouds and headed down to our theater, essentially three conference rooms set up with a stage at one end. After a smooth set up and a run through we were ready.

The shows went extremely well. I know for me the presence of an audience added an enormous amount of energy to the stories I was hired to tell. Yet this wasn't just any normal audience. This was an audience, as we found out at the talkbacks, full of Leahs and Rachels, and women who are all interested in the connection that exists between Jewish people around the world. As the gentile of the group it is really important and moving to watch how this material really connects with the Jewish community. Not being Jewish, I've had to do what an actor does for any part, find what parts of this character and his journey I can relate to and uncover how I can connect to that. However, for this audience it seemed that the story unto itself spoke worlds to them, and there seemed to be genuine excitement to see what different ages, communities, and types of people could find meaningful in this play.

And so we left the sunshine of LA and the women of Hadassah to continue their convention with the hope that our play might make its way into their conversations over the next couple of days.

1 comment:

  1. Jonathan, thanks for this! Yes, Hadassah is full of Rachels and Leahs, figuratively and i bet literally too. Thanks for this enlightening perspective and for bringing such great energy to the show.