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Jane Enkin Reviews Winnipeg Jewish Theatre's True Colors online March 8-28, 2021

by Jane Enkin, March 14, 2021

True Colors is a collection of monologues exploring the lives of Jews of Color, providing a glimpse into the intersectionality of each author's life. This American play is drawn from the autobiographical writing of Jews of various backgrounds. The WJT production features a different selection of the monologues each week.
In his introduction, Artistic Director Ari Weinberg quotes, " Modern times call for open minds and open hearts."
I saw the three monologues presented in Week 1 of the series.
The Men in My Life is a piece by Marissa Tiamfook Gee. Performer Cherissa Richards brings to life an engaging, intelligent character.  Her mother was Ashkenazi Jewish, her father was "half Black, half Chinese from the Caribbean." Gee grew up very connected to her Jewish heritage and attended synagogue regularly as a child and as an adult, and her writing touches only mildly on the impact of being a Black woman in a mostly white social context.. The monologue deals sweetly with themes of family and love.
El Beco, by Ruth Behar, is about a Cuban-Jewish girl growing up in New York.  Montana Lehmann brings bitterness and passion to Behar's description of her family's very different expectations for the sexual lives of boys and girls. The strongest expectation turns out to be that girls will marry only Jewish men. Lehmann communicates wonderfully the whispered, intense instruction of her mother, delivered partly in Lehmann's fluent Spanish yet easy to catch the gist of.
Shabbat Peace is another gentle monologue, written by Larry M. Sanders and performed with charm by Cuinn Joseph and Tracey Nepinak.  This is a story of the slow, thoughtful conversion experience of a man of Black and Choctaw heritage, who left his church because his constant questions as a child were not answered.  He finds a spiritual home in Reform Judaism.
The program, which you can read online, includes some interesting information about the backgrounds of each writer.  After the monologues, the actors spoke about their own learning and thoughts.
This play is a very good introduction to some complex issues.
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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