Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Apr 27th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Reason to Be

ae_jewishLocal Jewish Theatre company connects people with the Jewish experience

Every time they stage a new play, she’s remembered. Liliana Moraru, in many ways, was at the forefront of getting Santa Cruz’s Jewish Theatre launched, along with renowned local director/teacher Wilma Marcus Chandler and Claire Cameron. In 2009, Chandler gathered a group of actors and crewmembers, many connected with Temple Beth El in Aptos, and asked if they would be associated with putting together large-scale productions at the temple. However, the temple’s schedule wasn’t able to accommodate mounting major theater productions.

The next year, in 2010, the fledgling group morphed into a legitimate company with its first major production, “Crossing Delancey.” Moraru was supposed to be a part of the project, but sadly, she passed away before seeing the play. The company, now on its feet, knew its official name—The Liliana Moraru Santa Cruz Jewish Theatre. From there, the community theater group has been performing and producing steadily, with work that is either written by a Jewish person or has at the heart of the play a topic important to Jewish life.

 

Cameron became the artistic director and her husband, Fred Kuttner, is the managing director. They work with a group of hand-selected actors and this month the company is performing “Raison d’Etre—A Reason to Be,” written by Mollie Schwartz. It plays through Nov. 13 at the Live Oak Grange. According to the company’s website, the play is about, “A young man born in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, fights his way through the mob’s hold on boxing in the 1940s and into his dream of a different life.”

A “different life” is the key here—exploring what it means to be Jewish today. The company “is a window on the Jewish experience, all its sorrows, joys and perplexities,” says Kuttner. This might include literature, holidays, customs and culture. In part, the theater group exists as a tool “for Jewish people to stay in touch with their culture,” Kuttner adds. “Particularly in Santa Cruz, which has a fragmented Jewish community. A lot of people are not associated with the temple.”

For each person involved in the theater company, their history as a Jewish person is unique: For example, actor Ali Eppy grew up in a Christian home, but is now reconnecting to being Jewish. “Being involved with this company is a way of honoring my ancestors,” Eppy says. “It’s very much a cultural, ethnic experience.”

While the company focuses on Jewish playwrights or Jewish content, the team is fully open to non-Jews being a part of the crew or cast. They are an inclusive crowd.

“This play speaks to how anyone can change their life,” says Cameron. “If you have a dream and keep working toward it, you can have that dream happen and become a reality. … This is a wonderful avenue to present another aspect of diversity (with the company in Santa Cruz).”

 


The Liliana Moraru Jewish Theatre company will present “Raison d’Etre—A Reason to Be” until Nov. 13 at the Live Oak Grange, 1900 17th Ave., Santa Cruz. Show times are at 8 p.m. on Nov. 11 and 12 and 3 p.m. on Nov. 13. Tickets are $15/general; $12/students and seniors. For more information or to make a reservation, call 465-1411.

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Dark Magic

40 years on the movie beat in Santa Cruz
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

If you could live in Santa Cruz in any era besides now, which would you choose?

Probably the ’70s, because Santa Cruz is such a fly-your-freak-flag place. That was when free love and hippiness was in vogue. Shane Reber, Santa Cruz, Caretaker

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise