Says the press release for the new show, Old, Jewish And Queer: "If you think you are not described by the title -- think again. Old? You will be. Queer? Count the ways! Jewish? Well, two out of three ain't bad." Certainly that blurb fits a theatre piece that intends to "push the boundaries of time and gender" and "juggle the `how to live, how to die stuff' of being human." OJQ begins previews Feb. 13 and opens at San Francisco's A Traveling Jewish Theatre, Feb. 24.
The main character of Naomi Newman's solo piece with music is an actress who's phobic about aging. As such, she finds in herself "an indomitable 80-year-old, a bitter teenager, a gay man and a Jewish vaudevillian." All this, plus Yiddish, Hebrew and original songs (accompanied by pianist Teryl Saunders).
Martha Boesing, founder and for 10 years artistic director of Minneapolis' At The Foot Of The Mountain professional women's theatre, directs Old Jewish And Queer. Her own play, My Other Heart, won a 1994 Kennedy Center Award for its premiere at Chicago's Northlight Theatre.
Singer, actress and writer Newman's other pieces for A Traveling Jewish Theatre include Coming From A Great Distance, A Dance Of Exile and The Last Yiddish Poet. A 1970s member of L.A.'s Committee Workshop and Synergy Trust improv groups, Newman often tours with her solo, Snake Talk: Urgent Messages From The Mother.
Founded in 1978 by Newman, Corey Fischer and Albert Greenberg, A Traveling Jewish Theatre takes pride in being unafraid to avoid controversial subjects. Their topics have included African American/Jewish relations, Jewish Christian intermarriage, and the oppression of women; their techniques have ranged from ecstatic mysticism to poetry and jazz. For tickets ($16) and information on Old, Jewish & Queer, which runs at ATJT through March 23, call (415) 399-1809.
--By David Lefkowitz