Behind the Gates

Behind the Gates

Behind the Gates
by Wendy Graf
Directed by Karla Hartley
May 1-26

Jobsite partners with the Tampa Jewish Community Center and Federation for the eastern United States premiere of this  controversial and important play.  "Passionate ...  powerful ... What ultimately resonates is the fierce hunger of an adoptee searching for her true home." - Los Angeles Times.  A parents worst nightmare: 17-year old Bethany disappears while on a school trip to Israel. As her parents feverishly search throughout Jerusalem for their daughter, they find themselves lost in a hidden world where ancient and modern collide, conflicting cultures and politics clash, and extreme orthodoxies and passionate feelings of nationalism try to coexist while growing more volatile with each passing day. For the official website, visit jobsitetheater.org. Warning: this show is for mature audiences.

Behind the Gates is sponsored in part by The Tampa Jewish Community Center and Federation.

May 1 - 26, 2013 Shimberg Playhouse
Sponsor Sponsor

We Recommend

Fahrenheit 451 Gorey Stories Hay Fever Much Ado About Nothing The Lonesome West


  •   
      

Show Dates & Times

May 1-26, 2013

Thurs. 8 p.m.
Fri. 8 p.m.
Sat. 8 p.m.
Sun. 4 p.m.
There will be two preview performances on Wed., May 1, and Thurs., May 2, at 8 p.m.

Pricing

Regularly priced tickets start at $28. Previews: $10.

Groups of 12 or more receive a 15% discount. Please call 813.222.1016 or 813.222.1018 to speak with Group Sales.

Educator Discount - 50% off second Thursday only; anytime with ID, window sales only maximum 2 tickets

Studetn Discount - $10 tickets 30 minutes prior to performance cash only with ID, window sales only maximum 1 ticket

Military Discount - $10 tickets 30 minutes prior to performance cash only with ID, window sales only maximum 1 ticket

There is a maximum ticket allotment of eight tickets per account/household/business for paid, ticketed events. (For some shows, it may be less.) Applicable service charges added at point of purchase. There is no maximum for free, non-ticketed events.

For ticket purchases via the phone or ticket office, service charges are waived for current annual Straz members at the $400 level and higher, although special handling fees may apply to some shows. Service charges for online transactions apply to all members. 

Pursuant to s.817.36, Florida Statutes, no Straz Center ticket may be offered or resold for more than $1 over the face value of the ticket.

What to Expect

Warning: This show is intended for mature audiences.

About the Show

In a parent's worst nightmare, a troubled American teen vanishes into the mysterious world of Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox haredi community while on a summer trip to Israel, cutting off all communication with her desperate mother and father. Karla Hartley directs acclaimed playwright Wendy Graf's most controversial work to date. Petrus Antonius, Danielle Calderone, Pete Clapsis, Caroline Jett, Isabel Natera, Owen Robertson, Nicu Brouillette, and Frank Jakes star in the eastern US premiere of Behind the Gates in the Shimberg Playhouse at the Straz Center, May 2 through 26, where Jobsite is resident theater company.

In Graf's gripping mystery, 17-year old Bethany (Danielle Calderone) disappears while on a school trip to Israel. As her parents (Caroline Jett and Pete Clapsis) feverishly search throughout Jerusalem for their daughter, they find themselves lost in an alien world where ancient and modern collide, conflicting cultures and politics clash, and extreme orthodoxies and passionate feelings of nationalism try to coexist while growing more volatile with each passing day.

"My play asks questions about orthodoxy, whether it be Muslim, Catholic, Evangelical or Jewish," Graf explains. "This is a story we're reading in the news everyday. Religious fundamentalism provides a sense of community and identity along with a relief of absolutes that can prove powerfully attractive to young people."

Back in the States, Bethany had turned to sex, drugs, and ditching school to try to fill her terrible longing for acceptance and identity, so she is ripe and suggestive when the zealous and charismatic Rabbi Meir (Owen Robertson) approaches her one afternoon in Jerusalem. To her parents' bewilderment and horror, Bethany becomes completely absorbed into the world of the haredim, changing her name, adopting a new identity, and ultimately disappearing. Her parents' search for her becomes a search for themselves.

Graf addresses important issues in religious extremism and oppression of women in these communities; but ultimately, Behind the Gates is about the emotional journey of a family. Their ever-increasing panic as they hunt for their daughter is highlighted by the clash of languages, a cacophony of sound that permeates the play. In the end, the mother's search for her daughter becomes a spiritual and cultural odyssey of self-discovery.

In early readings, Behind the Gates came under attack from members of the American Jewish community who feared it would stir anti-Semitism with its unvarnished portrayal of the ultra-orthodox haredi culture. Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben of Kehillat Israel Congregation notes, "The play asks questions, but isn't Jewish tradition based on questions?  The beauty of Wendy's work is that she presents both sides, then asks the audience to open up a dialogue and think."

Behind the Gates is made possible by the generous support of the Tampa Jewish Community Center and Federation, who host a private opening night performance on May 2, and who are assisting in the  facilitation of community dialogue through talkbacks inclusive of scholars and clergy after certain performances that focus on issues explored in the play such as women's roles in conservative religion, fundamentalism, and oppression.

Wendy Graf began writing Behind the Gates in 2008, following a trip to Israel. The first act, under the title Bethany/Bakol, was a winner in the Denise Ragan Wiesenmeyer One Act Play Festival and was presented at L.A's Attic Theatre. The full length version has been developed and presented in staged readings at Theatre West, Theater 40, Ensemble Studio Theater-LA's Winterfest 2009, and Blank Theater Company, and the world premiere was presented by Hatikvah Productions and The Group at Strasberg. Graf is an award-winning playwright whose most recent plays include Lessons; Leipzig (L.A. Drama Critics Circle nomination, Back Stage Garland Award, Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition finalist); The Book of Esther (San Fernando Valley Artistic Director Award nomination for Best Play, ASK Theater Projects Grant Award); In the Time of Elephants; A Hollywood Fable; L.A. Tales; No Word in Guyanese for Me; The Cross and the Saber; and Shanghai Ghetto. An evening of one-acts collected under the title Zeno's Paradox includes Lester and Schloss (2008 Ellen Idelson Award winner, 2008 Arts and Letters Prize for Drama finalist, 2009 International Jewish Short Play Competition) and Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated (EST-LA's Winterfest 2009; 2010 FirstStage One Act winner). Ms. Graf is a member of Theatre West, Ensemble Studio Theatre Writing Unit, and Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit.

Behind the Gates plays May 1 – 26, 2013. Thursday, May 2 is a private gala opening hosted by the Tampa Jewish Community Center and Federation. The show opens to the public on Friday, May 3. All tickets are $28. Rush tickets for students, seniors and military are $10, and are available as of 30 minutes prior to curtain with cash and valid ID at the Straz Center Ticket Sales Office window. A preview performance will be held on May 1 at 8, with all tickets priced at $10.

Run-time: TBA