0 3 min 9 yrs
Irene Sofia Lucio (Daphna) and Alex Mandell (Liam) - Photo: Teddy Wolff
Irene Sofia Lucio (Daphna) and Alex Mandell (Liam) – Photo: Teddy Wolff

The sign at the snack bar lists the Show Special to be “Bad Jews Gelt” which includes Candied Bacon as an ingredient in the chocolate treat.

I attended a showing of “Bad Jews” directed by Serge Seiden, which is playing at the Studio Theatre through December 21, 2014. I thought it would surely be a comedy about Jews eating bacon etc.… as the show special had suggested.

Irene Sofia Lucio (Daphna) - Photo: Teddy Wolff
Irene Sofia Lucio (Daphna) – Photo: Teddy Wolff

Instead, I found myself heavily involved in listening to a debate between three cousins who were sharing an apartment to attend their grandfather’s funeral. The cousins varied in their spirituality. Yet, they all wanted to honor the memory of their grandfather, who had survived the holocaust, in their own way. Irene Sofia Lucio who played Daphna, the most devout of the three cousins, gave a stunning performance. Her facial expressions, hand gestures and body language really helped to create her stringent character. She brilliantly built her arguments to an unsubtle climax with her wonderful vocal inflections.

Her cousin Liam, played by Alex Mandell was a more secular Jew who identified with Judaism as a culture more than a religion. His temperament in his delivery and reactive facial expressions well balanced the debates with his cousin Daphna. Joe Paulik, who played Liam’s cousin Jonah, also did an excellent job of playing the middle of the road character that wanted to celebrate his grandfather’s life in his own way.

Alex Mandell (Liam), Irene Sofia Lucio (Daphna), Maggie Erwin (Melody), and Joe Paulik (Jonah). Photo: Teddy Wolff.
Alex Mandell (Liam), Irene Sofia Lucio (Daphna), Maggie Erwin (Melody), and Joe Paulik (Jonah). Photo: Teddy Wolff.

Much of his wonderful acting was in the “re-acting” he did while the other characters were speaking. His blocking was excellent. The play itself gave an in-depth study of the different levels of Judaism, which can be applied to all religions. Some people are more observant in their religion than others. Some people come from more privileged backgrounds and some people grow up poor and work harder to reach their goals. But, that shouldn’t negate the importance of their beliefs.

The cousins fought over a family heirloom and whom it meant more to, as it meant something different to each. They behaved quite badly in debating their convictions, which included Daphna attacking the gentile girlfriend that Liam brought home to introduce to the family. The story was very poignant in its arguments of who should get the honor of owning their grandfather’s family heirloom. The playwright, Joshua Harmon, really brought this conversation to light. This play is indeed a comedy and often had the audience laughing. I highly recommend seeing this play.


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