“Not That Jewish” at The Braid Review – Emmy Award Winner’s Scintillating Dramedy

In her 80-minute brilliantly delivered, autobiographical monologue, Emmy award winner and playwright, Monica Piper, relates a life story that sparkles throughout with comedy and clever one-liners. Starting with her childhood at age 7, when Monica, dressed in her “best” clothes, stood outside their Bronx apartment during Jewish High Holidays, giving the impression she had just returned from Temple. A neighboring 7-year-old girl, calling her bluff, taunted her with the words, “You’re not that Jewish!” Who knew that, decades later, that taunt would be the title for her wonderful show? 

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That event led Monica to introspectively question what it really means to be Jewish. She had a close relationship with her parents, and though her comedic, unfaltering monologue is spiked with Yiddish words, parental wisdom, and quotes, it is a multifaceted, deeply human story that includes all the elements of the human condition; disappointment, divorce, death, dementia, survival and more. Monica passionately fine honed her talent, appearing in comedy clubs alongside famous name comedians, and ultimately winning her place at the top with an Emmy for her head-writing of “Rugrats,” the animated television series.

 

Monica self-examines her life with honesty, and though told with humor, one feels her pain. She survived two failed marriages—the first with a handsome, blond Gentile lawyer, who didn’t find her funny, and called her “A Jewish American Princess,” and a second marriage to a musician who ended up seriously drug-addicted. In pain, and longing for a child, she adopted the newborn baby boy of an unmarried young mother who was unable to afford a second child. Jake, Monica’s adopted son, now a 23-year-old, became her raison d’etre, and she details his childhood and turbulent teens—that included a Barmitzvah, a green Mohawk hairdo—and his challenging shout, “But I’m not Jewish!”

In between all of this, at the height of her achievements and recognition, Monica deals with her Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother’s inability to comprehend her success. Later, her beloved father, suffering from heart disease is unable to attend Jake’s Barmitzvah. She contends with her own breast-cancer diagnosis, and we feel her pathos throughout.

There are many laugh-out-loud moments in this flawless production. Monica’s close relationship with her father and their attendance at ball-games leads to her crush on Mickey Mantle, and to her eventual meeting with him. He hits on her and she asks her father whether she should sleep with him. Her father’s ambiguous response, “F--- Mickey Mantle,” and her confusion, is hilarious. Piper’s facial expression and voice changes are brilliant, and her unflagging stamina and versatility reveal her right to be right up there with the greatest iconic comedians of our time.

The raised stage is sparsely furnished with just a couple of pieces of furniture. Key words and explanatory themes are occasionally projected onto the wall behind the performer. The audience, seated on folding chairs, is close enough to the stage to feel included in the unfolding narrative. What you’re getting is Monica Piper’s undiluted excellence, in a wonderful show produced by expert Ronda Spinak, and superbly directed by Eve Brandstein. What’s there to complain about? Don’t miss this one!

"NOT THAT JEWISH" at The Braid in Santa Monica

EMMY winner Monica Piper launches her latest show in LA’s newest Arts District.

Nominated for an American Comedy Award as one of the TOP FIVE female comedians in the country

Genre: Comedy

Cast ListMonica Piper

Production Credits:

Directed by Eve Brandstein

Directed Shut Up, Sit Down & Eat, currently on Broadway, and the Off-Broadway production of Voices of Swords. She has contributed to nearly every facet of the entertainment industry as a director, major studio executive, producer, writer/creator, talent manager, and author. Eve has numerous credits as a casting director for major television and film projects.

Produced by Ronda Spinak

(Producer/Artistic Director) created and produces JWT’s At-Homes Salon Theatre Series, now in its seventh season. She has curated more than 20 original Jewish-themed salon shows for JWT, as well as adapted many of the pieces performed.

“These are human stories we tell at JWT, from all different cultures, all different age ranges, all different denominations. What I don’t cast and what I don’t do is the cliché.” – Ronda Spinak; Artistic Director/Producer 

Performance Schedule:

Opening: 09 April 2015
8pm Thursdays and Saturdays through May 16th

7:30pm Sundays (except May 10th)

2pm Sunday matinees through May 17, 2015
Tickets
Pricing: $35                        
Call (310) 315-1400

or Reservations 

Theatre Information:

The Braid

2912 Colorado Ave. #102, Santa Monica, California

 

 

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