Twin Bill Theater Stages Off-Broadway Hit, ‘My Name is Asher Lev’
“You should see it, your children should see it, everyone should see it.”
– New York magazine
Twin Bill Theater Season 2 proudly presents the Asian premiere of “MY NAME IS ASHER LEV”, a passionate and poignant coming of age story by Aaron Posner, based on the best-selling novel by Chaim Potok and directed by Steven Conde.
Winner of the Outer Critics Circle Award, the critically acclaimed play MY NAME IS ASHER LEV was called “rich, moving and surprisingly powerful” by The New York Times and the New York Daily News called it “as earnest as it is universal.”
MY NAME IS ASHER LEV is set to open on February 18 and will run until March 5 at PARC Manila located at 494 Lt. Artiaga St., San Juan City.
About the Play
The play tells the story of Asher Lev, a young Hasidic Jew growing up in 1940’s Brooklyn, finds himself drawn to use his considerable artistic talents. But he faces opposition not only from his strict sect, which believes all art to be a waste of time, but also from his parents, particularly his father. Asher challenges the expectations of his community and the unhappiness of his family, but pays a terrible price for the right to use his gift.
“ My Name is Asher Lev is the most challenging theater production that we have ever directed. Requiring actors of exceptional skill, humanity and capacity for transformation, the cast we have assembled is a blessing. Each of these actors brings deep personal connections to the powerful, universal themes of this beautiful play such as the ageless battle between religion and art, art’s role in society and one’s courageous quest to be true to oneself knowing too well how such honesty can jeopardize one’s relationship with those he/she loves most.”
“ Yes, the protagonist is an artist, and the characters are intensely Jewish, yet anyone from any walk of life who struggles with one’s need to be true to oneself — be it a question of one’s purpose in life, one’s sexual orientation, political conviction or what have you — identifies with these characters. There is something for everyone – traditionalist or revolutionary, parent or child,” director Steven Conde noted.
Cast and Characters
The cast of My Name is Asher Lev features three noted actors who will play multiple roles:
NELSITO GOMEZ plays the titular Jewish artist Asher Lev, a Ladover Hasid who keeps kosher, prays three times a day and believes in the Ribbono Shel Olom, the Master of the Universe. Asher Lev is an artist who is compulsively driven to render the world he sees and feels, even when it leads him to blasphemy. He grows up in a cloistered Hasidic community in postwar Brooklyn, a world suffused by ritual and revolving around a charismatic Rebbe. But in time, his gift threatens to estrange him from that world and the parents he adores. Asher must be a painter despite his faith and the will of his family. In the play, his life spans from age three through his twenties and traces Asher’s development as a person and an artist. He is immensely gifted as an artist and, when younger, not in control of himself. He often seems detached from the world around him and generally spaced out. As he grows older, Asher becomes more in touch with himself and learns to channel his feelings into artwork. He is not a typical rebel in the sense that he does not want to rebel. He is simply drawn very strongly to produce art. As he gets older, he outgrows his teacher and becomes more reflective.
ROBIE ZIALCITA portrays the multiple roles of the MAN, described as follows:
Aryeh Lev – Asher’s father. A well respected, highly intelligent man. He is incredibly driven to work hard for the cause in which he believes. He has a strong sense of morality and is deeply committed to his religion. His son’s misbehavior deeply disturbs and hurts him. Though he works with high-ranking government officials, he has a hard time relating to those, like Asher, whose value systems are different from his own.
Jacob Kahn – An old and famous artist. When younger, he abandoned the religion with which he grew up, in order to pursue his artwork. He is fully and completely an artist. He is temperamental, and he feels no moral attachments to anything but art and sees a great purpose in producing art and artists. He is blunt, though generally for a didactic purpose.
Uncle Yitzchok – Asher’s uncle with whom he lives while his parents are in Europe. A wealthy, kind man, who has no distinct personality. He appreciates his nephew’s talent in his manner as a layman.
Rebbe – Asher’s teacher.
NATHS EVERETT plays the multiple roles of the WOMAN, described as follows:
Rivkeh Lev – Asher’s mother. She is kind and supportive. Deeply disturbed by the death of her brother, she worries a lot and is, in some ways, a stereotypical “Jewish mother.” She is intelligent, loving, and caring; she cares deeply for the two men in her life—Asher and Aryeh—and is troubled by their inability to get along.
ANNA SCHAEFFER – An international socialite and gallery owner. She is interested in art and artists and even more interested in using them to make money.
Rachel – A model.
About the Company
MY NAME IS ASHER LEV is produced by Twin Bill Theater which aims to produce shows that explore and challenge issues faced by today’s society. The founders led by theater professionals Joseph and Francis Matheu noted that their goals are also focused on stirring up the public’s interest to rediscover, love and preserve our historical, cultural and spiritual values through theater; and to make quality, thought-provoking productions more accessible to the non-theater going public.
Artistic and Production Team
The artistic team of “My Name is Asher Lev” are as follows: Steven Conde (Director), Virgilio Balanon II (Set Design), Vince Lim (Sound Design), and Joseph Matheu (Lighting Design).
The production team includes: Francis Matheu (Company Manager), Wowie Bonto (Production Manager), Pocholo Angeles (Stage Manager), Toots Tolentino (Publicity), , and Chirstian Baluca (Marketing, Video and Photography).
The playdates of “My Name is Asher Lev” are as follows:
February 18, 19, 25, 26
March 4, 5
Venue: PARC Manila – 494 Lt. Artiaga Street, San Juan
Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission
You can buy tickets HERE.
My Name is Asher Lev is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service Inc.
For more details about what’s happening in the Manila theater scene, please view our Theater Calendar.