Theatre Ariel – A Different Staging of Performance

Employing the model of in-home performances, followed by audience and performer Q&A session, Theatre Ariel offers a spectacular and unique experience.

If you’ve ever gone to see a play and, after the curtain closed, found yourself with a whole host of unanswered questions, you’re not alone. 

Why did the actors make certain choices? What was the playwright’s inspiration? How did the director decide who to cast?

As a lifelong actor and performer, I’ve often had people ask me about the behind-the-scenes process of a performance. I love each and every opportunity to enter into conversations about creative expression. But it’s rare for performers to be able to have a meaningful dialogue with their audience, and vice versa. Luckily, if you’re craving a meaningful artistic experience that continues long after the “final” scene, Theatre Ariel offers that and so much more. Employing the model of in-home performances, followed by a director-led audience/performer Q&A session, Theatre Ariel offers a spectacular and unique experience. 

When she founded Theatre Ariel, Deborah Baer Moses wanted to entertain and enrich audiences through the telling of stories by Jewish playwrights and/or dealing with themes pertaining to the Jewish experience, but with universal implications. Indeed, the company has been doing that since its inception, although the ways in which the company has fulfilled that mission has evolved. Over the years, Theatre Ariel has moved from a traditional model to a touring model to its current iteration as a series of in-home “evenings” spread out throughout what’s known as a “season.” The 2019-2020 season includes four distinct plays, each one with four performance dates to choose from. 

The performances take place at private homes and are open to the public. They are relatively intimate affairs, becoming even more so because, after each play concludes, the actors and the audience have the opportunity to dialogue with each other during a Q&A session. There are even refreshments!

The current series began in October of 2019 with Stephen Kaplan’s “Exquisite Potential,” a piece that seeks to answer the question: What happens when parents raise their child to believe that he or she is the “chosen one”? Although Kaplan’s narrative focuses on the specific story of Alan Zuckerman, his wife Laura, and their son, David (who they believe to be the Messiah), the play’s implications are far-reaching. Watching the play, one can’t help but reflect upon the phenomenon of helicopter-parenting, something that is especially relevant at this moment in history. Just ask any of the parents who were involved in the recent college admission scandal.

The experience of salon theater brought to mind Shakespeare’s well-known quote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” Theatre Ariel allows its actors to move from object to subject, to relate to the audience, and to understand how their work is received. And, more importantly, it provides the audience with the opportunity to transition from mere observers to active inquirers in the theater that is life. Apparently, “Exquisite Potential” isn’t just the name of Stephen Kaplan’s play. It’s also an apt description of a Theatre Ariel evening.

For more information, including ticket prices and season offerings, visit Theatre Ariel’s official site.

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