Theater J, the Washington DC resident theatre focusing on Jewish-themed plays, begins the 2000-2001 season with the DC premiere of Decoding the Tablecloth, Gabriela Kohen's one-woman piece about growing up Jewish and Latina.
The theatrical memoir, spanning five generations and three continents, plays the Cecile Goldman Theater in the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center, Sept. 14-24. Told in three different language (Spanish, Yiddish and English), Decoding the Tablecloth presents more than 20 of Kohen's family members, including the story of the actress playwright's grandmother, who fled Poland for Argentina in 1939. The play deals with the grandmother's choice to leave her family behind and the effect on the next two generations.
Rueful and comic, the play travels from Poland to Argentina to the malls of New Jersey. "This piece is meant to be both a funny and moving look at what it means to grow up Latina, Jewish and female in a family that has been displaced from home throughout generations," Kohen said in production notes. "I emigrated to this country with my family when I was three. The piece is a collage of my family's struggle to belong, yet still maintain our unique cultural identity."
Constance Grappo (Tabletop, Spread Eagle) directs. Decoding the Tablecoth has been seen at The Knitting Factory in New York City.
Tickets are $15-$24. Theater J performs in the Cecile Goldman Theater in the historic District of Columbia Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th Street, NW. For tickets and information, call (800) 494-TIXS, or visit the web site at www.dcjcc.org. *
The 2000-2001 Theater J season also includes Via Dolorosa, The Chosen, The God of Vengeance, Love & Yearning in the Not for-Profits..., My Left Breast and The Ride Down Mt. Morgan.
-- By Kenneth Jones