CATCO-Phoenix and Gallery Players Present “The Rubenstein Kiss”


“The Rubenstein Kiss” is a collaborative effort between CATCO-Phoenix, and Gallery players. If you live in Columbus, Ohio, go see it. It’s playing till February 24th.

“The Rubenstein Kiss” is a fictionalized play based on the lives of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg who were convicted of espionage against the United States in 1951. Questions about their guilt or innocence are raised in this play. If you’re familiar with the story of the Rosenbergs, you will know what general direction the play is heading, however, there are many surprises along the way.

It is the story of two Jewish New Yorker’s, Jakob and Esther Rubenstein, who get caught up in the communist movement. They are both idealistic and passionately in love. The actors don’t portray them as either villains or heros, just ordinary people, caught up in political philosophies, and the atmosphere of the times

Kim Garrison Hopcraft, and Kalafactic Poole play the Rubensteins as a loving couple with high ideals.

Hopcraft plays Esther believably. She plays a woman who loves her husband, and supports him at the cost of her child and her own freedom.

Poole plays Jakob as a man who will stand up for his principals no matter what the consequences. We know he truly believes in what he is doing, although we realize he may be misguided.

The play takes place in different time periods. The representatives for the contemporary portion of the play are Rudy Frias (Matthew) and Acacia Lee Duncan (Anna). They effectively portray the vulnerability and idealism of youth. The chemistry between them is undeniable. The plot twists and turns in a direction you wouldn’t expect.

Geoffey Martin and Julia Free play the brother and sister-in-law of the Rubensteins . They both effectively play characters caught in a dilemma. Although you don’t admire Martin, you feel some empathy for him.

Transitions between time periods are seamless. The staging and lighting is simple, but effective. The main props are a picture of the Rubensteins kissing, and a dining room table and chairs . The last scene is very powerful.

The playwright, James Phillips, was available to answer questions at a reception (sponsored by the NCJW, National Council of Jewish Women) after the performance.

People were curious about why he chose to fictionalize this famous story. One day while doing some research, he discovered the famous photo of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg kissing. The photo fascinated him, and he began doing research into the case.

“The play is about allegiance to family, country, and what we do pass onto our children.” One of the purposes of the play is to raise questions in your own mind,” said Phillips. The play is playing at the Riffe Center, Studio Two, until February 24th. Call the Jewish Center or CATCO productions for tickets.

“The play is about allegiance to family, country, and what we do pass onto our children.” One of the purposes of the play is to raise questions in your own mind,” said Phillips. The play is playing at the Riffe Center, Studio Two, until February 24th. Call the Jewish Center and CATCO productions for tickets.

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