Home January 2014 A Voice for All Women

A Voice for All Women

People of divergent races, religions or genders may see the world differently from each other.  Everyone has his own opinions and perspectives about daily occurrences, as well as Biblical stories from many centuries ago.  When these opinions are expressed freely, they can potentially create controversy, but that is the beauty of theater; out on that stage, all people are free to express themselves.  The audience gets the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes, and see the world through the eyes of another.  In this case, it is through the eyes of some of the most well-respected Jewish matriarchs in history.
On February 23, at 4 p.m. in Laguna Woods, Jewish Women’s Theatre will present its production of Eden According to Eve in front of its very first Orange County audience.  This hysterically funny theatrical production gives the audience a glimpse into the life of the modern day Jewish woman, along with the lives of past Jewish matriarchs.  In the show, the past merges with the present as matriarchs and patriarchs assume a place in modern society and live out their same stories in this day and age.
Jewish Women’s Theatre is a program whose goal is to give a voice to all denominations of Jewish women and preserve their stories for future generations.  In the spring of 2007, Ronda Spinak, Ellen Sandler and Deena Novak co-founded this program out of Los Angeles, as a nonprofitable way to share the stories of Jewish women in a salon theater form.  After five seasons, Jewish Women’s Theatre has spread nationwide.  On November 23, the group performed Saffron and Rosewater: Songs and Stories from Perisan Jewish Women for a full house in New York at the 92nd Street Y.
“In Eden According to Eve, Jewish women are asked to look at Bible stories from a feminine perspective and set them in today’s world,” said Jewish Women’s Theatre co-founder and artistic director, Ronda Spinak.  “For instance, Abraham and Sarah have a forty-year-old son who is still living at home, and they discover the difficulties of working with others.”  The actors demonstrate how the matriarchs and patriarchs face some of the same experiences Jewish women face today, and relate their experience back to the oldest of Biblical stories.
“The notion of this piece is to reflect the wonderful dimensions and variety in Jewish women that exist today, while creating a new, more prominent image for modern Jewish women,” said Spinak.
In total, there are five seasoned actors performing in this production, all of whom are members of the original cast from two years back.  The cast includes actor and former comedic writer, Robert Trebor, Broadway actress, Judith Scarpone, actress, Lisa Robins, Emmy Award-winning comedy writer, stand up comedian, motivational speaker, and performer, Monica Piper, and multi-genre television writer and performer, Shelly Goldstein. The actors will be accompanied by singer, Sarah Hershberg, who will be performing two original pieces.  Both Piper and Goldstein wrote their own pieces to perform in the show.  The audience should expect plenty of humor from these two talented ladies.
The other writers of Eden According to Eve include Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist, writer, and rabbi, Lynne Appel, author of The Day of Small Beginnings, Lisa Rosenbaum, and screenwriter, Arlene Sarner.  Each writer showed her own theatrical depiction of life through the eyes of the Jewish matriarchs.  They tackled prominent issues of the day, such as rape, divorce, suicide and custody and related them back to the Bible stories, creating a sort of Modern Midrash.
“About a year ago, we performed Eden According to Eve in front of 60 to 70 inmates at the women’s prison in Corona on Shabbat.  It was a rare experience to perform in front of these people who had actually been raped, suffered divorce, had suicides in their families, committed crimes and even killed people.  It was a very magical afternoon for us because in many ways these were their stories too.”
Producer Ronda Spinak is very proud of this particular show and is excited to be returning to Orange County, where she grew up.  Spinak lived in Huntington Beach, attended Edison High School and was a member of Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot.  As a child, Spinak enjoyed attending theater productions at South Coast Repertory.  “That’s where I first fell in love with theater,” she said.  Cast member Lisa Rosenbaum, also has parents who live in Laguna Woods, where the performance will take place.
Eden According to Eve has been described as a universal production.  Men, women, Jews and non-Jews alike have enjoyed this wonderful show.  No matter what race, religion or gender, Eden According to Eve can be an enlightening experience for everyone, allowing people to see life from a different perspective.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. WOW!!!What a fabulous and comprehensive article! Beautiful picture of Judith. I can’t believe a 14year old put this together. Sign her up!
    Can’t wait to be on stage again with everybody.

    Love,
    Sarah

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