To Know Him

When my wife was in cantorial school, she had to do a semester of chaplaincy rounds at a local hospital. One patient she visited said he was an atheist, she asked him what God was it that he didn’t believe in, and they had a long chat. That story inspired this play. The play has a couple of nice perks. One, it was a show that Robin and I could perform (which we did); and second, I could do the whole play lying in a hospital bed, which relieved me of having to limp around stage on my cane, which I (and I suspect the audience) find really distracting. This is a pretty Jewish play which helped it win a national playwriting contest geared toward Jewish plays. In fact, the people who ran the contest, part of a theater outside Cleveland, liked the show so much they staged a really lovely production of it, the only time in the history of the contest that they actually did a production of a winning show. The story is really schmaltzy, but I think the dialogue is up there with the best I’ve ever written, smart and funny (with a lot of allusions to classic cinema, the thing that binds the two main characters). I’m not sure that listening to two people talk about this and that makes for the most exciting evening of theater, but when I start cashing in on everything I set up in the first act, and when the father finally appears, I think the play works really well.

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