Los Angeles audiences are quickly adjusting to the Alliance Repertory Company's production of Michael T. Folie's new play, The Adjustment. Originally scheduled to close after a six-week run in Burbank ending in late July, the production has been extended through September.
The Adjustment, written by a self-described lapsed Catholic playwright, is about Jews, both Orthodox and secular; longing, both spiritual and worldly; and about faith, both in oneself and in God. The play has garnered good reviews plus the LA Weekly's "Pick of the Week" and a Critics Choice from the LA Times, whose Robert Koehler writes, "The Adjustment is a full bodied, full-blooded play, the kind of melding of ideas, surprising wit, theatrics and willfully individualistic characters that the American Theatre desperately needs."
The complex plot involves Sharon, a nonobservant Jew who begins to fall in love with her Hasidic chiropractor, Matt, in part because of his deep spirituality. Although he admits to falling in love with her, his devotion to his family and religion permits him from following through, even when he begins to depend on her position as lobbyist to help him through a financial crises, and later in his battle with Parkinsons. Through their interaction, the hard edge of her fast paced materialistic lifestyle is softened, while his unswerving devotion is tested and subsequently matures.
In an article in Los Angeles' Jewish Journal, Folie said that the play's focus was on "the spirit in humans that makes them want to touch the infinite," and is not intended in anyway to condemn the Jewish religion. Although the chiropractor's rabbi is accused of tax fraud and hypocrisy, Folie debates anyone who finds the play anti-semitic, saying it is not only Jewish groups, "but all religious organizations [that] are corrupt."
Michael T. Folie won the 1996 Midwest Theatre Network's National Playwrighting Competition, and the National Playwrighting Contest at Washington DC.'s Source Theatre. The show stars Lisa Kaminir as Sharon Gray, who, according to the LA Weekly, "charms as the fast-talking, feminist power broker and narrator of her own shifting emotions. Gil Bernardy stars as Dr. Matthew Cohen, "whose performance is also beautiful, with layers of blind faith, carnal torment, compassion and haughtiness."
Tickets for The Adjustment at the Alliance Theatre are $15 and are available by calling (213) 660-TKTS.
-- By Blair Glaser