According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fringe/Sex and the Holy Land

Reviewed by Ilana Novick

Watch out! It’s Jews Gone Wild! In Melanie Zoey Weinstein’s Sex and the Holy Land, Lili (Weinstein) travels to Israel with her two best friends, hoping for adventure, knowledge, a connection with Jewish History, and and—hopefully, —and orgasm. She’s hounded—in her head, at least—by a chorus of Jewish mothers (pitch-perfect Yiddish accents from Susan Slatin, Michelle Slonim, and Goldie Zweibel), much to the dismay of her good friends Orr (Sarah Doe Osborne) and Chaya (Ruby Joy), who worry that she’ll spoil their fun. Instead, despite the insight, in-jokes (like the “Jew-Bu”), and “in all seriousness” moments (Or may be pregnant, Chaya wanted to go to Israel to come to terms with the death of her father), Sex and the Holy Land spoils itself by focusing on the forced drama of three reasonably privileged girls. It’s a bit indulgent, given the background.

The characters go a long way, too, from hiking in the Negev to trying to hook-up with soldiers; from praying for a deceased parent to attempting to live up to the ideals of one’s parents. The atmosphere doesn’t fare as well: a bench and blankets serve as a plane, a beach, the Western Wall, army barracks, and more. In that light, it’s hard to make out the duality of this land as a party town and a minefield, a country with its own privilege, yet a strong current of hardship borne of religious conflict. Sex and the Holy Land manages to capture the inner conflicts of these girls, but not the complexity of the country.

Sex and The Holy Land (2 hours, one intermission)

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