IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT THE MOTHER
Eight years ago, my mother, Sara, a strong-willed, very funny, and deeply romantic Russian-Jewish woman with a colorful and mysterious past, left this earth at age 92. I loved the stories she told me, particularly about the great (and very secret) romance of her life and I wanted to find a way to bring her story to life. I tried to write it as a play, a novel, a screenplay, but it wasn't working (I have the box of drafts to prove it - it weighs a lot). I relocated (from Los Angeles) to New York City in 2009 and started making new theater work - mostly solo work - and went to get my MFA in Dance at Sarah Lawrence College. Meanwhile, I received a fellowship to LABA: a Laboratory for Jewish Culture at the 14th Street Y - a place where artists study ancient texts together focused around an annual subject/theme - the theme for my group was "Mother" - those great, larger than life, mythical mothers of the Torah. With LABA/14th Street Y as my home base, and also developing the work at Sarah Lawrence as part of my thesis, I was able to bring fellow artists in to work with me and started crafting this work about my own mythical mother into what has become THE MAR VISTA.
IT'S HAPPENING NOW!
We are bursting with excitement because on December 1, 2016, THE MAR VISTA, will begin a three week run (12 performances) at the Theater at the 14th Street Y in Manhattan (located on the legendary Lower East Side). This will be the completed production of THE MAR VISTA and is the culmination of over four years of intensive creative work by Mystical Feet: performers Amanda Schussel, Ron Kagan, Dwight Kelly Richardson, and Ryan Pater; Sound Designer and Composer, Ezra Lowrey; Costume Designer, Amy Page; Lighting and Set Designer, Kryssy Wright and me.
From the start, THE MAR VISTA was conceived as a 5-part evening of interconnected stories about my parents - Sara and Charlie. It is a comical, lyrical and sometimes tragical tale of enduring love, mismatched romance and the dance of life. We've built each individual section, working piece by piece, rather like the way my father Charlie, a Polish tailor, built and assembled the bespoke gentleman's suits he took great pride in making. THE MAR VISTA has been nurtured and developed by LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture and The 14th Street Y, allowing us to take the time it has taken to craft this Jewish family memoir that travels in time and space, over ninety years and three continents. Along the way, other wonderful organizations have become involved and partnered with us to offer further opportunities to continue the work's development: Jewish Plays Project, Museum of Jewish Heritage, and National Jewish Theatre Folksbiene.