IF I FORGET
March 1, 2017
Bastions of liberalism or centers of oppressive "political correctness?" Universities cultivate the best minds; encourage intellectual research and student engagement --
so why the howls when a professor writes a book suggesting a re-thinking of the holocaust?
Secure in the faculty's support of his upcoming tenure review and general popularity with the students, Michael (the rumply Jeremy Shamos), a Jewish Studies professor, publishes a book that suggests Jewish writers stop writing so many victim books about the Holocaust and turn their intellect to the many other worthy, world-wide subjects.
Steven Levenson’s play takes place against the backdrop of a family gathering at their aging father’s upper middle class home in Washington D.C. Primarily secular Jews, the two sisters, and father hold onto Jewish traditions and culture but are not avid members of a synagogue.
A schoolteacher, Sharon (Maria Dizzia) is single and the most concerned about the ramifications of Michael’s book and her responsibilities to their aging father. The well off (or so she thinks)
Holly (Kate Walsh) spars the most vehemently with her brother, but is also his most ardent ally while the patriarch, Lou Fischer (Larry Bryggman) wants everyone to get along, but retains his own strong perspective on social/political and inter-personal forces.
But once the clan convenes, squabbles break out. It’s hard to see your siblings as anything other than willful seven-year olds. Family dynamics erupt and singe conversations then recede under the guise of loyalty. Beneath the emotional roller coaster crouch financial issues—who’s got money, whose money will assist the family, where is money hidden, and why is it gone?
These complex dynamics mirror the equally complicated professional dynamics unleashed by the debate over the Michael’s book.
Director Daniel Sullivan raises the temperature slowly and steadily drawing in all the arguments raised by the family and the larger universe.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis