From Bad Date to Great Play
We asked writer/performer Rachel Evans to share her inspiration for Jew Wish, the one-person play on her on-line dating adventures that she will be performing at Eldridge Street on Thursday, March 24. Join us that evening for fun, laughter, and a post-event schmooze.
How exactly did I come to bare my dating woes to a room full of strangers? Let’s see. I began working on Jew Wish over two years ago. I had done Jdate for a few months two separate times, with years in between the first and second time. I wasn’t using the site for too long (I know people that have been loyal Jdaters for years and years), but in that short time, I had given it my all. In my dedication to dating, I went out a lot, and I had some very funny and strange stories. And when I told people these stories, someone, I think it was my dad (ha!) suggested I write a play about it. So I started to write, and I just found I had a wealth of experiences and dates to draw upon. I worked on it in a playwriting class and that helped foster the creative process, and it made me realize “Wait- this is funny!” It was no longer just words on a page, I was reading it out loud in class and people were laughing. From there I had a small reading, where I got a lot of great feedback, and I just kept re-writing it and editing, and cutting and adding and re-writing. The show premiered in the NY International Fringe Festival last summer (2010), directed by Rachel Eckerling, who has been such a collaborative, creative and nurturing director to work with.
The night of the first show I was both terrified and elated. Airing your private neuroses, your romantic hopes and your conversations with your parents out to an audience of strangers was a very scary experience. Would my story be embraced? Would anybody be able to relate? Would I be able to face my parents afterward? I found the answer was yes to all of these questions. People seemed to really enjoy the show and connect with the universal story within it- the desire to meet someone, and the obstacle of your own judgments. Thankfully, my parents took the whole show very gracefully, and accepted that I was playing fictional characters; in fact they didn’t miss one of the five performances and are the best free press agents a girl could find. And amazingly, the show was very empowering to perform- if I can talk about all these things to a theater full of strangers, than I can pretty much do anything- like even possibly meet a tall handsome stranger of substance on the internet. Wink wink.
But in all seriousness, Jew Wish has been quite a ride to perform, and I am looking forward to next week’s performance, to see how the show will change and grow in the different theatrical space of the beautiful Eldridge Street synagogue.
Follow us on Facebook this week for Rachel’s tips on on-line dating.