The struggle to find one's identity is a universal theme that is especially prevalent in Chaim Potok's novel, My Name Is Asher Lev. As an Orthodox Jew, Asher's gift for art is looked upon very unfavorably. Despite the disapproval of his community and father and the pain his art causes those around him, he pursues his passion and must find a way to reconcile the conflict between his religious identity and his individual identity.
My Name is Asher Lev can be seen as a universal coming-of-age story, but its truest power derives from having its feet planted in a vividly realized culture at a particular time in history. As his parents pour their passion into the work of healing a world broken by war and Holocaust, it’s easy to see where Asher’s own will and passion came from, this driven son of driven parents.
Long Wharf Theatre Presents
My Name is Asher Lev
by Aaron Posner
Based on the novel by Chaim Potok
Directed by Gordon Edelstein
With Ari Brand, Melissa Miller, and Mark Nelson
May 2-May 27, 2012
Asher Lev can't help himself. He needs to paint. He needs to draw. Creating art is like breathing for him - he can't live without it. But growing up as a prodigy in a deeply observant Hasidic family he runs afoul of his parent's and community's traditions. He is forced to make the difficult choice between religion and art. Based on Chaim Potok's classic novel, this stunning and beautiful play was described by the Philadelphia City Paper as "a marvelous evening of theatre: intimate, sincere, magical."
Asher Lev grows up in a cloistered Hasidic community in postwar Brooklyn, a world suffused by ritual and revolving around a charismatic Rebbe. But in time his gift threatens to estrange him from that world and the parents he adores. As it follows his struggle, My Name Is Asher Lev becomes a luminous portrait of the artist, by turns heartbreaking and exultant, a modern classic.