Arts & entertainment

‘Bad Jews’ ask the big questions of audiences

Edge Theater stages family clash for second summer show

Posted 7/18/17

Funerals are a time for families to come together to grieve and celebrate the life of the deceased. But when family members who are dealing with loss and anger are in the same place, that mix of personalities can lead to a combustible …

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Arts & entertainment

‘Bad Jews’ ask the big questions of audiences

Edge Theater stages family clash for second summer show

Posted

Funerals are a time for families to come together to grieve and celebrate the life of the deceased. But when family members who are dealing with loss and anger are in the same place, that mix of personalities can lead to a combustible situation.

That’s the case in Joshua Harmon’s dark comedy, “Bad Jews,” which runs at The Edge Theater, 1560 Teller St., July 14 through Aug. 6. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Directed by Josh Hartwell, “Bad Jews” chronicles the clash between traditional and observant Daphna (Missy Moore) and her cousin, Liam (John Wittbrodt), who takes a more secular approach to life. When their grandfather dies, both claim the Chai necklace he managed to save while surviving the Holocaust. Liam’s non-Jewish girlfriend Melody (Chloe McCleod) and brother Jonah (Ben Hilzer) get dragged into the brawl, and things get messy for everyone.

“It’s like watching a crash happening on stage,” Moore said. “You have these cultural and spiritual philosophies and family dynamics all mixing together, and these people trying to figure out how to sustain their identities and ideas.”

The play is brisk and entertaining, Wittbrodt explained, and the perfect show for an intimate theater like The Edge.

“It all takes place in a New York City Studio, so the audience feels like it’s there with us,” he added. “Which is great because this is not the kind of show you just sit back and enjoy. Its one you have to listen to and engage with.”

Both Moore and Wittbrodt said the play’s themes of staying true to a religious or culture identity are particularly relevant in current times, with so much pressure being put on people to assimilate into a homogeneous society.

“I see the show and its ideas a dialogue,” Moore said. “At the end, its who people are that matters.”

Bringing audiences something more than light summer fare has always been a mission of The Edge, and Wittbrodt is looking forward to taking audiences along on the journey the characters go through.

“Everyone in the show keeps thinking and growing,” he said. “It’s going to actively challenge the audiences, and they may come away with more questions than they had going in.”

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