AT&T Performing Arts Center
Dallas, Texas December 2010
In this fiercely romantic drama, Hannah and Zvi are reunited after divorcing
twenty years earlier. Raised in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim,
the couple ended their marriage when Zvi turned his back on Judaism and
Hannah did not. Now the teenage children from their second marriages have
become romantically involved, forcing Hannah and Zvi back into each others’
"Hard Love" packs a powerful emotional punch
New York Jewish Culture Examiner
If this review seems spare it’s because I hope you’ll see Motti Lerner’s play Hard Love and want to keep spoilers to a minimum. Hanna and Zvi divorced 20 years ago when Zvi became an atheist and left their Ultra-Orthodox community. When the children they each had in their second marriages start dating they meet again which leads them to discuss their marriage and its ending.
The themes Hard Love examines include both the religious-secular divide in Israeli society and the compromises that are necessary in any marriage. The latter theme in particular gives the play its emotional depth and power; Zvi is too emotionally wounded to meet Hanna half-way. Zvi is haunted by God; his professed atheism seems like an attempt to flee a God he blames but can never elude. I am personally acquainted with several couples who agree to disagree on matters of religion, but none of them are Ultra-Orthodox, and all of them are psychologically whole and emotionally secure enough to accommodate a partner’s differences.
Hanna and Zvi are the only characters that actually appear on stage, and Mira Hirsch and David Marshall Silverman give very strong performances. The play’s two acts (between which there is a ten minute intermission) mirror each other in reverse.
MOTTl LERNER is a playwright and screenwriter, born in Israel in 1949. American productions of his work include: The Murder of Isaac at Centerstage Theatre, Baltimore, and also as part of the New York Now festival at the Public Theatre in NY; Exile in Jerusalem at Williamstown Festival with Julie Harris in the title role, Jewish Ensemble Theatre, Detroit, La Mama Theatre, NY, and Theatre J, Washington DC; Hard Love at Theatre Or, Durham NC, Victory Gardens, Chicago, and JTS in Atlanta; Passing The Love of Women at Theatre J, Washington DC, Coming Home at Golden Thread Theatre, San Francisco; Pangs of the Messiah at Theatre J, and Silk Road Theatre Project in Chicago; Benedictus at Golden Thread Theatre, San Francisco, LATC in Los Angeles, the Lark Playwright's Week in NY, and at Theatre J. His play Pangs of the Messiah was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for the best play of 2008. His feature film "Spring 1941," with Joseph Fiennes and Claire Higgins in the title roles, was released in October, 2008. He is a recipient of the Meskin Award for Best Play (1985), and the Israeli Motion Picture Academy award for Best TV Drama in 1995 and in 2004. In 1994 he won the Prime Minister's Award (Israel) for his creative work. His plays have been produced in the US, the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Australia. Other plays include: Kastner, Paula, and Pollard, all produced by the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv; and Autumn at the Beit Lessin Theatre, Tel Aviv. He has written screenplays for the films: "Loves in Betania," "The Kastner Trial," "Bus Number 300," "Egoz," the TV drama series "The Institute," "A Battle in Jerusalem," and "The Silence of the Sirens." His TV feature film "Altalena," premiered at the Jerusalem Film Festival in July 2008. Lerner teaches playwriting at the Kibbutz College in Tel Aviv. He has been active in the peace movement in Israel since 1973. He frequently lectures at European and American Universities on playwriting, on the Israeli theatre, and especially on the Israeli theater and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Most of his plays and films deal with political issues.
MIRA HIRSCH (Hannah) is an actor, teacher, producer and director whose involvement in the Atlanta theater community spans three decades. In that time, she is grateful to have had opportunities to collaborate with numerous gifted artists, including Atlanta theater luminaries Frank Wittow and Barbara Lebow, the late Joseph Chaikin, the legendary Theodore Bikel, and the generous and talented Atlanta artists working on this production. Atlanta acting credits include: The Crucible, Academy Theatre; The Dilling Room, Theatre in the Square; Brand, Theater Emory; and a national tour with the Center for Puppetry Arts. More recently, she has appeared in Finn In The Underworld at Actor's Express, The Immigrant at Theatrical Outfit, the world premiere of Samm-Art Williams' Brass Birds Don't Sing directed by Kenny Leon and Amy Feinberg for Kenny Leon's True Colors Theater Company and Jewish Theatre of the South, and a 2008 production of Hard Love with Jewish Theatre of the South (ITS). She was the founder and sole artistic director of Atlanta's JTS, where she produced over forty productions during the theater's thirteen-year history. Mira is currently the artistic director of Genesis Stage, which she founded earlier this year. She holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Denver
DAVID MARSHALL SILVERMAN (Zvi) is a member of Actors' Equity Association. Regional credits: A Death in the House Next Door to Kathleen Turner's (Alliance Theatre Company); A Christmas Carol (Alliance Theatre Company) The Legend of Pecos Bill (Alliance Theatre Company); One Last Summer (Alliance Theatre Company); Up on the Roof (Alliance Theatre Company); La Bete (Alliance Theatre Company); Let's Talk About AIDS (Alliance Theatre Company). Other Selected Credits: The Immigrant (Theatrical Outfit); Love, Jerry (Actors Express); Broadway Christmas Carol (ARTStation Theatre); The Last Night of Ballyhoo (Hippodrome State Theatre); Affluenza! (Jewish Theatre of the South); Driving Miss Daisy (Canton Theatre); Searching for Eden (Georgia Ensemble Theatre); A Company of Angels (Theater Emory); The People vs. Mona (Theatrical Outfit); The Action Against Sol Schumann (Jewish Theatre of the South); Route 66 (ARTStation); I Do, I Do (Canton Theatre); The Good Person of Szechwan (Theater Emory); Waiting: A Restaurant Drama (Nice Guy Productions); Pump Boys & Dinettes (Theatrical Outfit); Big Hair and Other Teases (Canton Theatre); Agamemnon & Electra (Theater Emory); Tuesdays with Morrie (Theatre in the Square); Frankly, Sinatra (Canton Theatre); Cotton Patch Gospel (Blowing Rock Stage Company); Losers (Nice Guy Productions).
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