Review: Golda’s Balcony (The Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company)

b768a0d1-78de-402f-a614-1fbb7db1a9ffToronto play explores the life and times of Golda Meir in this captivating one-woman show

The The Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company is closing its 9th season with Golda’s Balcony, a harrowing one-woman show on Golda Meir starring four-time Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh. The play was written by William Gibson and directed by Scott Schwartz and met with multiple sold out shows during its two week run.

Gibson writes a gripping glimpse into the life of this complicated, witty, and strong woman. The play first presents Golda Meir during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, five years before her death. During this turbulent time in Israel’s history, Meir reflects on her early beginnings during the Pogroms in Kiev, her life in Wisconsin, and her eventual settlement with her husband in Palestine. Gradually, Meir rises up the ranks in government acting as a liaison between Palestine and America and an ambassador for the Soviet Union until her eventual appointment as the 4th Prime Minister of Israel.

Gibson captures Meir’s inner conflict to perfection, showcasing her deep struggle to balance her role as a mother and as a leader for the cause of Zionism.

While her family provides her with joy, being a housewife is far from her political goals. During the play, Gibson stresses that Meir wanted to spread the idealism of Zionism and help establish Jewish independence. Yet she quickly discovers the idealism of the movement deeply contrasts the political reality of the situation. In moments of pain, grief, sorrow and regret Gibson always implements humour when appropriate and captures the essence of who this woman was—a fearless leader.

But at the heart of this play is Feldshuh’s magnificent performance, which was nominated for a Tony award in 2004. As soon as the lights came up and Feldshuh took a drag of her cigarette, she became Golda Meir. From her manner of walking to the gentle clasping of her hands or the slightest whisper of her voice, I felt as if I was watching the Prime Minister herself, brought back to share her story with us once more.

Feldshuh captivated the stage, which is difficult to do given the daunting nature of a one-person show. But she was born for the role. At the end of the performance, Feldshuh greeted the audience and her warm spirit was felt at the back of the house (where I was seated, so I know!)

She said in a heartfelt message to the audience, “If we have seen the end of the Vietnam War, the end of Apartheid in South Africa, and the fall of the Berlin Wall, then we shall one day see peace between the Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East.” And with that parting word she bowed and left the stage, providing us all with a show to remember, and most importantly, reflect upon.

Details:

  • Golda’s Balcony is playing at the Greenwin Theatre (5040 Yonge St.)
  • Performances run until June 19, 2016 except for Friday June 17th
  • Showtimes are at 8 PM (Tues-Sat) except for a 2 PM and 7 PM showing on the Sunday.
  • Tickets are around $75
  • You can buy the tickets online of call at (416) 932-9995 x 224

Photo of Tovah Feldshuh by Aaron Epstein