‘My Name Is Asher Lev’ at New Jewish Theatre is poignant tale of an artist – STLtoday.com

Posted By on January 31, 2020

Chuck Winning (left) and Spencer Sickmann in "My Name Is Asher Lev."

Ask most theatergoers what they remember about a performance, and theyre likely to focus on the acting. But quite a lot can be communicated before a word is spoken, as in the case of My Name Is Asher Lev, onstage through Feb. 9 in a spellbinding New Jewish Theatre production.

Adapted by Aaron Posner from a novel by Chaim Potok, the play involves a young Hasidic Jew undergoing a spiritual crisis. In 1950s Brooklyn, Asher Lev (Spencer Sickmann) yearns to be an artist a calling for which he unquestionably has the talent. But his deeply religious father (Chuck Winning) objects, particularly when exposed to some of Ashers more sexually provocative images. And Ashers mother (Amy Loui) is only slightly more tolerant.

As directed by Aaron Sparks, a story that might easily come across as melodramatic instead registers as a thoughtful portrait of the struggle between following the dictates of family and community and finding the courage to pursue ones dreams. And the contributions of scenic and lighting designer Rob Lippert go a long way toward setting up that conflict.

With its nondescript furniture and austere lighting, My Name Is Asher Lev immediately signals that the title character is in need of the understanding and support necessary to thrive as an artist. Those elements also nicely complement Sickmanns take on the character.

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'My Name Is Asher Lev' at New Jewish Theatre is poignant tale of an artist - STLtoday.com

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