Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Notes on My Heart is in the East by Jessica Litwak

My heart is in the East
But the rest of me far in the West-
   Yehuda Halevi (1090)

Now hear this mixture,
Where hip-hop meets scripture
And develop the negative into a positive picture
            Lauren Hill (1999)

I hope you’ll join us for this first full production of My Heart is in the East. This play is the culmination of years of field-work, personal exploration, historical research and theatrical development. It is an expression of my heart-felt theory about theatre (and poetry) as a vehicle for change.  In the spirit of the piece I hope you will stay with us through the poetry contest to the most important part of the evening: a short community discussion about the issues the play explores.

My Heart is in the East is a duet between two poets (a Muslim man and a Jewish woman) in two centuries (The 21st and the 11th). We cross time, gender, race, religion and language to bridge the conflicts between them. Will violence, suspicion, and fear stop cultural exchange and destroy a unique and unlikely friendship? Or will poetry, humanity, love and humor win out?

It’s our earnest desire that you will be part of this movement to bridge cultures and advocate for peace.

Some history: The play also exists as chapter four of my doctoral dissertation: My Heart Is in thE East:Exploring Theater as a Vehicle For Change, Inspired by the Poetic Performances of Ancient AndalucĂ­a. La MaMa has been involved every step of the way, including hosting my dissertation defense, which happened right at Culture Hub with committee members joining via telepresence. We did a workshop production at The Club in 2015, and had subsequent readings both at La MaMa Umbria and at Great Jones Studios.

Like all plays it was developed with so much help and input from others along the way, all of whom I am deeply grateful for. Thank you especially to my dear La MaMa family for giving this project a home. This performance is dedicated to the spirit of Ellen Stewart who pushed me towards the East in this very building many, many years ago, and to my two biggest inspirations Sophie and Emma Weinstein who make the journey worthwhile.

Jessica Litwak, My Heart is in the East

Photos by Carolina Restrepo 

La MaMa presents
My Heart 
is in 
the East
by Jessica Litwak
directed by Jen Wineman

June 8, 2017 - June 25, 2017
Thursday to Saturday at 7PM; Sunday at 2:30PM

The Downstairs @ La MaMa
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors 

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE