Actress LISA ROBINS discusses her performance in Todd Salovey’s adaptation of Sherri Mandell’s memoir, The Blessing of a Broken Heart—written in the aftermath of the murder of Mandell’s teenage son in Israel—making its LA stage debut at Jewish Women’s Theater at The Braid in Santa Monica’s Bergamot Arts District. Salovey directs. Opens tonight, Feb 18.
“The play adaptation has been in development for a number of years by Todd [Salovey], who is Co-Artistic Director of San Diego Rep and Professor of Drama at UCSD. We have done a number of readings of it over the years, including a workshop production at the Rep. Then we performed it at a camp for kids in Israel whose mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers have been killed by terror. The camp was founded by the author and her husband. They have a foundation and we toured, performing at various fundraising functions. And Todd kept developing the stage work as we progressed. He even gave me line changes during our last preview here in LA. It was interesting how I became involved with this work. I am Jewish, but during my early years as an actress, I performed a great variety of roles. But at a certain point, I began getting cast in Jewish roles. In 2004, I performed in this beautiful play, Center of the Star by Yehuda Hyman at the Greenway, produced by Cornerstone. Well, Yehuda then recommended me to Todd. It has been an amazing experience. The play has great depth and a wonderful sense of humor. What has surprised me is the courage of the audience to take this journey with us. We have performed it for children. We performed it at this one school in San Diego and I don’t think these kids had ever seen theater or a Jew before. They were attentive and got everything, even the jokes. They thoroughly understood how you can go through grief, come out the other side and turn it into something beautiful.”
Julio Martinez-hosted Arts in Review—celebrating the best in theater and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area—airs Fridays (2-2:30pm) on KPFK (90.7FM).