Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
A Flag is Born
Produced by American Century Theater, A Flag is Born hasn't been produced in 56 years. The piece centers on the fight for a Jewish homeland. It is Hecht's theatrical call to arms for the Jews of the world and it strives to educate the world itself about the plight of the Jews during and after the Holocaust.
Since the time that the play was first produced, Israel has been created. Therefore, the show feels very dated in places. However, as much as things change, they also stay the same and this play illustrates that. Overall, it sheds light on some very compelling points about the state of humanity that can still be made today. It also serves as a reminder of the horrors of this terrible time in history. Hecht's words are eloquent but there are moments where he seems to get hung up on the same idea over and over again and the show doesn't move. The phrase, "less is more," certainly applies here.
Hecht's message is communicated primarily by Tevya, a survivor who is traveling with his wife Zelda in search of Palestine. They are old, sick and only have each other until they come across a survivor named David. The young and angry David is searching for Palestine as well.
Director Steven Scott Mazzola makes some very good choices but in the end the play is uneven. Joel Snyder as Tevya is a bit too robust for a survivor. Yet, he does display a few fine moments. Keith Warren gives a soulless performance as David. There are absolutely no nuances in his portrayal. The most intriguing actor on the stage is Annie Houston as Zelda. She truly captures the essence of this character's despair.
The lighting design by Marianne Meadows is quite effective in combination with Beth Baldwin's minimalist set design. Cynthia Abel's costumes are fine in appearance but are not always consistent with the characters. However, Lynnie Raybuck's oversized puppets are outstanding and add much to the piece.
A Flag is Born caused a lot of controversy in its day. Some may say it is propaganda. Others may say it just reflects history. Whatever the consensus may be, there is no denying that it projects a powerful message. A Flag is Born runs at Gunston Theater II in Arlington, Virginia through April 24th.
American Century Theater
Tevya: Joel Snyder