My Name is Asher Lev, the “coming-of-age” story of a boy prodigy, is scheduled for three matinee performances by The Autumn Players of Asheville Community Theatre (ACT): Friday and Saturday April 29 and 30, 2016 in 35below at ACT and Sunday, May 1, 2016 in the Manheimer Room at UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center. Curtain is at 2:30 pm. Under the direction of Deborah R. Austin, and in partnership with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNC Asheville, this is the third of five productions of the 2015-16 season of TAP’s Readers Theatre Showcase. All tickets are $6.00 and are available online at www.ashevilletheatre.org, by phone at 828-254-1320, or in person at the Asheville Community Theatre Box Office. Any remaining tickets will be sold by cash only at the door.
My Name is Asher Lev is a short drama by Aaron Posner adapted from the novel of Chaim Potok, an American author and rabbi, best known for his novel, The Chosen. It is the story of Asher Lev, a boy born with a prodigious artistic ability into a Hasidic Jewish family in Brooklyn in the 1950s. During Asher’s childhood, his artistic inclination brings him into conflict with the members of his Jewish community, which values things primarily as they relate to faith and considers art to be, at best, a waste of time and possibly a sacrilege.
In a 2014 review of the play, Chris Jones, a reporter for TimeLine Theatrecompares Asher’s struggle with his faith and his drive to be an artist with that of Tevye the Dairyman in Sholem Aleichem’s tales and the musical Fiddler on the Roof. Tevye “who struggles mightily with his daughter’s decision to marry outside the faith and who determines, with great agony, that if he bends too far in deference to the wishes of his child, he may well find that he breaks into little pieces. The main difference here is that the protagonist of the tale is the child, not the parent.”
My Name is Asher Lev was first produced in 2009, and has been performed successfully at several regional venues. The first New York City Off-Broadway production of the play opened at the Westside Theater on November 28, 2012. The play won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play and the John Gassner Award.
The Autumn Players is ACT’s volunteer outreach company consisting of dozens of seasoned actors, directors, writers, and educators dedicated to taking theatre into the community. Since 1992, the company has provided poetry readings, contemporary and classic comedies and dramas, and the Readers Theatre Showcase series to thousands of students, seniors, and in-betweens in venues across Western North Carolina.
For more information or for a full schedule of the 2015-16 Readers Theatre Showcase series, please visit www.ashevilletheatre.org.