Thursday, September 21

The Arc: A Trilogy of New Jewish Plays – Soho Theatre

Emanate Productions has brought to the Soho stage brand-new plays by Amy Rosenthal, Alexis Zegerman and Ryan Craig. The trilogy packs a punch by looking at the universal themes of birth, marriage and death, each adding its twist and flowing very beautifully from one to another.

The production has been successful in bringing together both established and emerging Jewish artists, in an attempt to bridge the gap between experience and to provide a safe environment to foster exciting and challenging work.

The first play, ‘birth’ is set at the moment a gynaecologist is confronted by his patient about his choices at her birth.  birth reflects on some of techniques millennials adopt to understand and reflect on their trauma while juxtaposing it with how elders tended to dust themselves up and move on. In it they also reflect on the importance of repartitions even as no apology is enough. The play inside of the play of finding the correct word to fit in this crossword and some very endearing and memorable acting by the veterans Nigel Planer and Caroline Gruber leaves one moved and grieving.

The second plays explores the tension, curiosity and awkwardness of a Jewish man and woman meeting for the first time having connected on a dating app. With some supernatural intervention after a rough start as the date progresses the characters grow on us with their rawness and vulnerabilities unfolding slowly. The play is able to question the frame of relationships often coloured by patriachal and religious beliefs while the loneliness that abounds in adulting.

The third play called death gives us a peephole into the dynamics of a family coming together for a funeral. The humour possible only with one’s sibling to the grudges we hold on to with our parents. The play feels so familiar and relatable.

Deeply moving, sometimes choking, sometimes poignant and many times funny. All three plays speak to the human realities we all go through but in centering their Jewish heritage we walk away with a deeper nuance in these times of deep antisemitism, we need more of these plays, more conversations to remind ourselves about how same but different we are and how we can find patience to hold one another with grace.

Reviewer: Anisha Pucadyil

Reviewed: 18th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.