The Child Behind the Eyes in Production

Nava Sarracino _Photo Credit Christel Veraart
Nava Sarracino in rehearsal

Seward is the first stop for the Far North and Pacific Northwest debut for a monodrama, featuring actress Nava Sarracino and original music composition by Christel Veraart. The Child Behind the Eyes, written by Israeli playwright Nava Semel, tells the story of a mother whose son is born with Down syndrome. The night before his first day of school, the mother, in her restlessness, explores her memories of his birth and the first six years of his life.

The play opens August 19-20, 2016 at Resurrect Art Coffee House in Seward, before traveling to Victoria, British Columbia, as part of the Victoria Fringe Festival, which runs August 24 to September 4. Anchorage performances, produced by RKP Productions, are scheduled for September 16-18 and 23-25 at Out North Contemporary Art House.

Throughout the rehearsal process, director, actress and composer have communicated via email with Semel, who resides in Tel Aviv. In a conversation between actress and playwright, Nava Semel explains how The Child Behind the Eyes is a voyage into a family who struggles with pain, ignorance and fears. In this play, main character ‘Yotam,’ innocent, and open hearted, becomes the source of love to all members of the family. In fact, he is the one who teaches them all a new meaning of life. Israeli actress Assi Eshed commissioned Semel to write The Child Behind the Eyes, because she wanted to share her personal story of her son, who has Down syndrome. Eshed performed the play for 11 years in Israel, with more than 1,000 performances.

In an email to Semel, composer Veraart wrote “A couple of months ago, while escaping the Alaskan winter, I read your play in Mexico. At a perfect, remote and quiet place, it was the poetry and atmosphere of your writing that drew me in at once. The mother’s love for her son Yotam spoke to me first, and it was her unconditional love that urged me to compose a lullaby ‘Viglid’,” which is Yiddish for lullaby. Listen to Lullaby

Portions of the lullaby have been woven into the sound design for the play. Director Melde writes, “The lullaby is a vital part of this production, much like the connection and heartbeat between mother and child. When we started playing the music and sound cues during rehearsal, I got chills from how the music spoke to the soul of this play.” In subsequent correspondence with Veraart, Semel provided Veraart with lyrics in Hebrew. The composer then recorded a Hebrew and English version.

Semel dedicates the play as a tribute to her own mother, Mimi, who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp. The Child Behind the Eyes, originally written in Hebrew, has been performed worldwide since its debut in 1987 in Tel Aviv and translated in Arabic, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Romanian, and Spanish.


This show is supported in part by a grant from the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

2016 Performances

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Art House Coffee House, 320 3rd Ave

Aug 19 – 7:00pm
Aug 20 – 7:00pm[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″ css=”.vc_custom_1468449484688{padding-right: 1.5vw !important;}”][vc_column_text]Victoria, British Columbia (Canada)
Fairfield Hall | 1303 Fairfield Rd

Aug 25 – 5:45pm
Aug 26 – 7:45pm
Aug 28 – 3:00pm
Aug 29 – 7:00pm
Sept 3 – 7:15pm
Sept 4 – 1:00pm[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″ css=”.vc_custom_1468449510097{padding-left: 1.5vw !important;}”][vc_column_text]Anchorage, Alaska
Out North Contemporary Art House, 3800 Debarr Rd

Sept 16 – 7:00pm
Sept 17 – 7:00pm
Sept 18 –3:00pm
Sept 23 – 7:00pm
Sept 24 – 7:00pm
Sept 25 – 3:00pm


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