My Name is Asher Lev (2011)
Born into a Hassidic Jewish family in post-World War II Brooklyn, Asher Lev is a prodigious young artist torn between his fiercely observant religious community and his desperate need to create. When his artistic genius threatens his relationship with his parents and insular community, he must confront the difficult choice between art and faith. Asher's father views painting as foolishness at best, but more often as sacrilege. His mother is torn between her love for her husband and son, her commitment to her community, and her own personal calling. The play chronicles young Asher's coming-of-age as a boy and an artist amid his turbulent relationship with his father. A secular Jewish artist who becomes Asher's mentor warns him that art and Judaism are equally strong traditions and one cannot commit to both simultaneously. Ultimately, Asher must choose between them.
In late 2010, the Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis presented My Name is Asher Lev, by Aaron Posner adapted from the best-selling novel by Chaim Potok.
Bloomington actor and director Martha Jacobs directed the Phoenix production. Jacobs has performed in various Phoenix productions, including portraying Sophie in The Housewives of Mannheim and Sylvia in End Days. Jacobs’ directing credits include Well, The Action Against Sol Schumann and The Washington-Sarajevo Talks at the Phoenix, Proof at Indiana University-Bloomington and Talley’s Folly and The Cocktail Hour at the Edyvean Repertory Theatre. She has a BFA in acting from Carnegie-Mellon University and has been a visiting lecturer in acting at Indiana University – Bloomington for five years.
The cast includes John Michael Goodson as Asher Lev, Bill Simmons as Asher’s father and other multiple male roles, and Wendy Farber as Asher’s mother and other female roles. The creative team enjoyed their run so much that they approached the JTB about bringing the production to Bloomington, costumes, sets and all.
Place: Bloomington Playwrights Project