My Name Is Asher Lev | Stage 773 | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

My Name Is Asher Lev Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks Recommended The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Oct. 18 2014

For some reason directors like to portray religious Jews as if they just got back from the Babylonian exile: weeping mystics with bad posture, waving their hands over open flames and pronouncing Hebrew prayers in weirdly unintelligible ways. That's one reason why it's so refreshing to see this TimeLine Theatre staging of Aaron Posner's play, an adaptation of the Chaim Potok novel about an artist prodigy born to a family of Brooklyn Hasids. Except for the ridiculous—and occasionally unreliable—beards Lawrence Grimm has to wear in his multiple roles as patriarchs, the Jews here are unencumbered by pseudoromantic ghetto tropes. Indeed, they're quite human. It's not only the matter-of-fact way they bless wine and bread, as if they do it all the time (which would be the case). It's little gestures like absentmindedly wiping challah crumbs from the table as they talk during a Shabbat dinner. Director Kimberly Senior and company get the big things right as well. At once charming and relentless, Alex Weisman's Asher has an on-the-spectrum way about him that convinces us beyond question of his inability to stop making art. —Tony Adler

Price: $37-$50

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