Ari Laura Kreith, artistic director of Luna Stage in West Orange, will speak about “Theatre, Activism, and Tikkun Olam [Repairing the World]” at Bnai Keshet’s Kaplan Minyan on Saturday morning, January 19, 2019. The Kaplan Minyan, which meets in the Red Gables historic house across the parking lot from the synagogue’s main building, begins at 10:30 a.m. with selected songs and readings.
Kreith comes to Luna Stage from Theatre 167, where she was the founding Artistic Director. She conceived and directed The Jackson Heights Trilogy: “167 Tongues,” “You Are Now the Owner of this Suitcase,” and “Jackson Heights 3 am” (PBS Pick-of-the-Week), three full-length plays collaboratively written by 18 playwrights featuring 37 actors in 93 roles in 14 languages, inspired by the world’s most diverse neighborhood. With Theatre 167, Kreith received the 2015 NYIT Caffe Cino Award for consistently producing outstanding innovative theatre. She also received the 2016 LPTW Lucille Lortel Visionary Award in recognition of her work as a director and the body of work Theatre 167 has created under her leadership.
As the daughter of a WWII refugee who never felt rooted in America, her passion for making theatre grew out of her experience growing up in 27 different countries as her father taught mathematics at universities across Europe and later researched math education in the developing world. She explores her Jewish identity through theatre as social activism, and her commitment to making theatre is deeply connected to tikkun olam, repairing the world. She believes theatre is a space where people can start to have the conversations that bring them together. Her career in theatre has always emphasized plays that invite audiences into an awareness of how everyone is connected and offer unique paths to understanding. Kreith says, “I value theatre that makes us responsible, as theatremakers and as audience, for how we act towards one another and how we can always, always be better.”
The Bnai Keshet Kaplan Minyans are named for Reconstructionist Judaism founder Mordecai Kaplan, who sought to create a Jewish framework for discussions of ethics, culture, history and current events. They are designed for people who enjoy a communal Shabbat and want to enrich their understanding of Jewish peoplehood in an alternative, less traditional setting.
Reconstructing Judaism in and around Montclair, Bnai Keshet is located at 99 So. Fullerton Ave., Montclair. For more information, visit www.bnaikeshet.org/event/kaplanminyans.