Art & identity

A lovely work I found on the website of art critic, author and educator Roy Berko

Questions of art and identity have lingered through the ages, perhaps because the arts play such a significant role in elucidating what it means to be human.

My first theater foray of the weekend (“Eleemosynary” at Theatre Artists Studio) involved issues of identity and relationships between three generations of complicated women — who seem perplexed by both their own longings and those of the others in their lives.

Sunday I’m hoping to hit the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company production of “My Name is Asher Lev” — a play that tackles issues of art and identity, religion and secularism, family and individuality, history and philosophy, preserving the past and forging a future.

While I admit to sometimes using theater as a means of “housework avoidance,” this piece inspired me to tackle tons of laundry, dishwashing and such on Saturday — because theater is best enjoyed in a guilt-free environment.

I’m especially pleased by the opportunity to see the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company production of “My Name is Asher Lev” because I’ll be enjoying a touring production of “Fiddler on the Roof” at ASU Gammage later this week.

I’m looking forward to comparing the way each piece approaches issues of Jewish identity — knowing many of the themes will reflect struggles experienced by people of all cultures.

No worries if you’ve yet to tackle your weekend chores. Live a little — and take some time out of your Sunday to experience “My Name is Asher Lev.” Those who attend the 2pm show can stay for a free post-show talkback with members of the cast and creative team.

I suspect you’ll leave with grand thoughts as you return to changing diapers, shopping for groceries or whatever activities comprise the everyday moments that are fueling, or frustrating, your own sense of identity.

— Lynn

Note: Click here for information on “My Name is Asher Lev” (which runs through April 3) and click here for information on “Fiddler on the Roof” (which runs March 29-April 3) — including details about post-show talkbacks offered after select performances.

Coming up: Broadway tales from Betty Buckley and Seth Rudetsky


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