My Name is Asher Lev
Presented by New Century Theatre Company
by Aaron Posner
Adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok
Directed by Sheila Daniels
12th Ave Arts
April 22 – May 21, 2016
Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm
Sundays at 4:00pm
If you’ve ever had to sacrifice something you cared about for your art, this play will speak to you. It will speak to you if you’ve ever been a part of a family divided. My Name is Asher Lev, adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok, takes place in 1950s Brooklyn, NY and tells the story of the upbringing of young artist, Asher Lev (Conner Nedderson). His father, Aryeh (Bradford Farwell) deeply opposes his artistic ventures especially where they cross moral boundaries and directly conflict with Asher’s strict Hasidic upbringing. Asher’s mother, Rivkeh (Amy Thone), often the subject of Asher’s early work, stands directly in the middle of the battle between the tradition of her religion and the tradition of an emerging artist’s growth.
Conner Nedderson carried a heavy load playing the title role of this play, yet brought a tender boyishness to the role of Asher Lev showing flashes of brilliant strength in the face of adversity. He pulled the story along swiftly and successfully made this show drive ever forward at a perfect pace. Bradford Farwell may have had the biggest challenge playing young Asher’s father Aryah Lev as well as Asher’s fun uncle, the Rebbe as well as established Jewish artist, Jacob Kahn. Each character was clearly defined and Farwell’s intentions and motivations were powerfully clear. My personal favorite performance was that of Amy Thone who desperately clung to her family trying to keep peace all while suffering a devastating personal loss. Amy’s acting experience is entrancing and worth the cost of admission (although I will acknowledge that all of these actors show you a tremendous amount of skill).
Sheila Daniels (Director) and Peter Dylan O’Conner (Scenic Designer) frame this show beautifully and artistically, using literal picture frames creating a thrust setting that is gorgeous from all angles. The set is simplistic and only serves to enhance the beauty of the story of a budding artist growing before our eyes.
I was recommended to see this show being told, “this is the best theatre currently playing,” and now I’m passing along that message to you. Please, do yourself a favor and enjoy New Century Theatre Company’s latest gem, My Name is Asher Lev.
By Geoff Finney