This summer, director Vivian Melde, actress Nava Sarracino and composer Christel Veraart join forces to present the monodrama, ‘The Child Behind the Eyes’, by Israeli playwright Nava Semel. The play tells the story of a mother whose son is born with Down syndrome and explores her memories of his birth and the first six years of his life.
The play will open August 19-20, 2016 in Seward (Resurrect Art Coffee House), Alaska before traveling to Victoria, B.C. as part of the Victoria Fringe Festival, which runs August 24 to September 4, 2016. Anchorage performances, produced by RKP Productions, are scheduled for September 16-18 and 23-25 at Out North Contemporary Art House.
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 the lullaby ‘Viglid’. (Christel Veraart in correspondence with playwright Nava Semel)
In a personal conversation between actress and playwright, Nava Semel explains how her play ‘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.
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.