My Name Is Asher Lev
us inside the world of Mark Rothko, asking if an artist can remain true to himself while pursuing a commercial project.
On the boards now (through September 8) is a wonderful addition to that oeuvre, My Name Is Asher Lev, Aaron Posner's adaptation of Chaim Potok's 1972 novel about a young artist whose vision brings him into conflict with his parents and his religion.
What makes an experience in the theater worthwhile has less to do with the genre or style of a work than with its honesty. Is a play an authentic expression of a playwright, given life by genuine performances? Or is it sentimental, cliched, or, in the words of a character in Asher Lev, "pretty"?
Asher Lev isn't the least bit pretty. And the production at PNT is as riveting as it is truthful. Director David Magidson, artistic director of the Jewish Ensemble Theatre in West Bloomfield Township, where the production had an earlier run, has drawn nuanced performances from his stellar cast, which he moves through time and place on a three-level flexible stage, designed by Sarah Tanner and painted with light by Jon Weaver.