Out of the Apple Orchard
By Ellen W. Kaplan, based on the book by Yvonne David
Directed by Nicole Raphael
By Lauren Yarger
A sweet tale of forgiveness offers a breath of fresh air for theater goers in the New York premiere of Ellen W. Kaplan's Out of the Apple Orchard which recently had an all-too-short run at the Actors Temple in New York.
Based on the first in a series of children's books written by Yvonne David, and themselves inspired by Joseph Stein's Fiddler on the Roof, Sholom Aleichem’s “Tevye the Dairyman," and Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol," the stories follow the Jewish Bieman family which immigrates to the lower east side of Manhattan in 1910, then moves to the Catskills.
When Papa (Erik Endsley) is too sick to continue working on the fine suits he tailors, Mama (Lori Leifer), Bubbe (Alyssa Simon), Adam (Caleb Hafen) and Sarah (Emma Kantor) all offer to pitch in. They offer the doctor (Gershon Tarabulus) a pair of trousers in payment, but how will they ever have money to buy ingredients for a holiday cake to bring in a sweet new year?
Adam decides that stealing apples from the orchard of Farmer Friedland (Ken Dillion) is the solution, but he soon finds that his actions have unexpected consequences. His guilt leads him to seek counsel from the family's rabbi (also played by Tarabulus), who tells him he must confess to Friedland and see what he can do to make up for his crime. But will the farmer forgive him?
Directed by Nicole Raphael of The Mesaper Theatre, the tale unfolds with music and puppetry (Victoria Chaieb, violinist, who also composes original music and arrangements; Rebecca Porticello, red bird -- puppets by Vandy Wood) set against paintings by Robert Sauber and lighting by Maarten Cornelis. Choreography is by Hafen and Kantor.
This charming tale, told in about 80 minutes without intermission, bakes a perfect pie by blending the ingredients of wholesome family values, vivid storytelling and lighthearted entertainment whose aroma will appeal to audiences of all ages. The run at the Actors Temple was just seven performances. Here's hoping it returns or has runs in other cities. And maybe the other books in the series will find their way t the stage as well. For info in the books click here.