Joshua 6-1-27: Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.And the Lord said unto Joshua:‘See, I have given into thy hand Jericho, and the king thereof, even the mighty men of valour.’
The “Jericho” in the title of Jack Canfora’s new play is not the Biblical one that was conquered by Joshua in acknowledgement of his allegiance to God’s will. Or rather it is not only the one found west of the river Jordan, but also the community on Long Island in which Rachel (Jill Eikenberry) brought up her two boys, Josh (Noel Joseph Allain) and.Ethan (Andrew Rein.) “Jericho”is very much about community and intertwined allegiances.
|Jill Eikenberry, Carol Todd, Andrew Rein, Kevin Isola, Eleanor Handley, and Noel Joseph Allain in “Jericho” by Jack Canfora, directed by Evan Bergman and produced by The Directors Company, at 59E59 Theaters. Photo © by Carol Rosegg|
Allegiance is a kind of connection that Beth (Eleanor Handley), the central character in “Jericho,” struggles to find.. She has always struggled with relationships, even before the cataclysmic events of September 11th left her widowed and in distress. At the beginning of “Jericho,” Beth is “zoning out”as she puts it in her therapist Dr. Kim’s (Kevin Isola) office, while they are discussing her new relationship with Ethan.
|Kevin Isola and Eleanor Handley in “Jericho” by Jack Canfora, directed by Evan Bergman and produced by The Directors Company, at 59E59 Theaters. Photo © by Carol Rosegg|
Beth is frangible and likable. She is glibly articulate, but can’t seem to get herself together, and as this does not seem to bother her, we are all right with it as well. Beth is haunted by the appartiion of Alec (Kevin Isola), the husband she lost on 9/11. She sees him everywhere, even sitting in her therapist’s, Dr. Kim’s (Kevin Isola) chair.
Noel Joseph Allain and Andrew Rein in “Jericho”by Jack Canfora, directed by Evan Bergman and produced by The Directors Company, at 59E59 Theaters. Photo © by Carol Rosegg
In “Jericho,” in the four years since the World Trade Center towers fell, Beth is not the only one can’t cope. Josh, to the dismay of his wife Jessica (Carol Todd), has become obsessive, finding every attack anywhere in the world to be one aimed against Jews. Unlike Beth, Josh is brittle and off-putting. He has become a stranger in a strange place. Josh’s motivation seems weak even in the context of traumatic occurrences.
|Carol Todd and Jill Eikenberry in “Jericho” by Jack Canfora, directed by Evan Bergman and produced by The Directors Company, at 59E59 Theaters. Photo © by Carol Rosegg|
The opening act of “Jericho” sets the stage for a poignantly funny play. The writing is witty; the characters make unexpected observations. As “Jericho” progresses, it also gets bogged down, and loses its light footing. The first-rate ensemble, under Evan Bergman’s direction, never loses its way, however, each giving extraordinary performances. The scenic design that Jessica Parks has created for “Jericho” is as so animated that it is allmost another character on the stage.
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