Saturday, February 24, 2007

NY Jewish Humor

Seems there's a new play on Broadway. A Jewish-themed play. It's called “25 Questions for a Jewish Mother” starring Judy Gold.

This 70-minute monologue, written with Kate Moira Ryan, is based on more than 50 interviews with Jewish mothers across the United States, conducted over a five-year period.

In “25 Questions” she seamlessly weaves anecdotes from her own life with snippets from the interviews; she’s the single, Jewish, kosher-kitchen lesbian mother of two sons, with a strident Jewish mother of her own. (“I’m like a documentary premiering at a gay film festival in Berlin, ‘Das Orthodyke,’ ” she says.) The results are fiercely funny, honest and moving.

Ms. Gold whips up a rich borscht of vivid characters: her own mother, Rivka, or Ruth; her lesbian partner, Wendy, who hankers for a baby; their sons, Henry and Ben. (They each gave birth to one.) We also meet an Orthodox woman whose son died of complications from AIDS, a Chinese woman who converted to Judaism, several Holocaust survivors and the family ghost that inspired much of Ruth’s obsessiveness.

Ms. Gold’s well-paced delivery is a perfect match for her material. Whether she’s opining about her mother (“Over the years things got so bad between my mother and I, we stopped talking to each other and started communicating by putting Ann Landers articles on the refrigerator”) or joking about the diary of Anne Frank (her mother read her the pop-up version: “Pull the tab, Judith. Alive. Pull it again. Dead.”); whether lip-synching Barbra Streisand or repeating an off-color remark she made about President Bush that got her listed as a homeland security risk, Ms. Gold gives “25 Questions for a Jewish Mother” her comic — and compassionate — all.

Funny, I didn't find this that humorous.

But you try. Here's a very short audio clip.

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