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Crossing Jerusalem Actor Profile: Louisa Clein

Louisa Clein as LIORA (LEE) KAUFMANN

Welcome to an eight part interview series featuring the cast members of Crossing Jerusalem.  Check back daily for the next installment.

Introduce yourself and tell us about your character in Crossing Jerusalem.

My name is Louisa Clein and I’m playing Liora “Lee” Kaufmann in Crossing Jerusalem.   Lee is the daughter of Varda, the sister of Gideon.   She’s a single 35 year old woman that works with Jewish and Arab kids, and is also in the medic unit of the Israeli Army.  She is an idealistic character.  Lee does believe that working with Jewish and Arab kids might make a different.  She is also very lonely and confused.  Her relationship with her brother is complicated and is jealous of him.  She also has a terrible relationship with her mother that is a battle throughout the play, which is a constant source of pain, anger, sadness, jealously for Lee.

Is there a part of Lee in you?  Can you relate to your character?

There’s a part of her that resonates with me.  She’s a strong independent woman, which I hope to think that I am.  She’s someone that has an inherent sense of morality, of belief, that something has to change, and that there’s a possibility of peace in Israel.  She’s a character that fundamentally believes in a two state solution.  She also exploits her sexuality and uses it to feel alive.  Lee realizes the power of her body and uses sex to get what she wants.  It’s a fun part of the character to play with.

Lee comes across as an instigator or truth-seeker.  Can you tell us more about that side of your character? 

Rehearsal photo of David Ricardo-Pearce (left) as Gideon Kaufmann and Louisa Clein (right) as Liora “Lee” Kaufmann (Photo credit: Habie Schwarz)

Yeah, Lee is a truth seeker.  The female agenda of this play is holding onto family.  Lee is trying to repair some sort of relationship with her mother and to hold onto her relationship with her brother.  Lee just wants life to be how it was when they were younger, searching for happier times.  She blames her mother for a lot of things.  She misses her father.  She has created a world with Gideon that is fantastical and exclusive.  Lee, in a way, is still growing up.  She now realizes she’s an independent woman.  There’s this juxtaposition of her sexuality and her promiscuity.  By the end of the play she has broken that tie with her mother, and no longer needs approval, giving her a sense of freedom.

Can you give us some insight on how rehearsals are going?

I’m loving it.  It’s wonderfully exciting and a great company.  The subject matter is fantastic too. It’s always a vibrant discussion that’s exciting and with lots of laughter.  We’re having fun.  I think the more serious the subject matter, the more joyous the rehearsals have to be, because there needs to be laughter in the room.

Why should people come to see Crossing Jerusalem?

It’s a play that has a lot to say about Israel without putting its foot down on either side.  I think it’s a very honest and true depiction of what’s happening in Israel.  Crossing Jerusalem was written a long time ago, but it’s still relevant and perfect for what’s happening now in the Middle East.  When you listen to one side of the argument you go ‘yeah’.  And you listen to the other side and go ‘yeah’ as well.  That’s so much of the problem, each argument is equally weighted.  In terms of solutions, who knows what they are.  This is just one tiny family’s drama set in within this enormous eternal problem.

 

Crossing Jerusalem – Written and Directed by Julia Pascal

Synopsis:  Set during the 2002 intifada, and just before the invasion of Iraq, Crossing Jerusalem is a potent and dynamic exploration of the theatre of war. The play describes 24 hours in the life of an Israeli family who cross Jerusalem to eat in an Arab village. In the course of a single day Arab and Jewish histories burst into the present in the most politically tense city in the world.

Venue & Address: Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP
Telephone booking number: 020 7870 6876
Booking website: www.parktheatre.co.uk
Direct link to book tickets online click here

Opening and closing dates: Dates: Tues 4 August – Sat 29 August 2015 (Preview 4th and 5th August)
Times: 7.45pm Tues – Sat / Thu & Sat Matinees 3.15pm
Prices: £12.50 Previews / £18 Full / £15 Concessions /
£12.50 Tuesdays Residents with N.London postcode or Under 25s

 

Crossing Jerusalem Actor Profile: Adi Lerer

Adi Lerer as YAEL KAUFMANN

Welcome to an eight part interview series featuring the cast members of Crossing Jerusalem.  Check back daily for the next installment.

Introduce yourself and tell us about your character in Crossing Jerusalem.

My name is Adi Lerer and I play Yael Kaufmann in Crossing Jerusalem.  She is turning 30 and it’s a big day for her.  She’s going to have a birthday meal together with her family.  Yael is the wife of Gideon and she wants to have another baby.  They already have a 4 year old girl and now her real wish is to have a son. Gideon doesn’t want to have another baby, this rejection and him avoiding confronting this issue aggravates their relationship.  She can feel that there is something is going on in Gideon’s life that he’s not telling her.  The only way to save their marriage is for him and for her to open up-to grow up.

Besides the cultural significance of having a son, are there other external forces that make Yael’s desire to have another child so strong?

Yael is someone who is very intelligent and passionate.  She wants to expand her family. Especially during this moment in life, during the 2002 intifada, when you experience conflict, a situation of war, you feel that time is very precious.  This idea can go both ways.  Why should we have children during this conflict?  Or you feel the opposite.  You want to breed and have more of a lineage.  Make life because there’s so much death.  She wants to create a beautiful thing to bring into the world instead of destroy.  Her voice is changing.  Her whole being is rediscovering her strength, her autonomy in the world.  She can voice what she wants.  It’s up to her.  She has the strength to do that.

Rehearsal photo of Adi Lerer (foreground) as Yael Kaufmann & David Ricardo-Pearce (background) as Gideon Kaufmann (Photo credit: Habie Schwarz)

How does being an Israeli make this role different from other productions you’ve worked on?

Being Israeli helps me because I can connect to it all very easily.  On the other hand, it can hinder you as well because it can be a bit adrenalizing.  I can feel it a bit too much.  It’s really fascinating working with people that aren’t Israeli on a play that talks about your home country. It puts everything in a different perspective; it gives the whole situation a fresh look so it’s a really interesting journey for me.

You’ve worked with Julia Pascal before?

This is my 4th production with Julia.  My first one was in 2001 with Woman in the Moon at the Arcola.  We’ve done a few others like The Dybbuk performed in New York.  It’s a pleasure to work with Julia, we understand how the other works.  I work quite physically, devising theatre, and incorporating text.  That’s how Julia works as well and I connect with that.  It’s exciting to work on a linear text based production with her.  It really feels like home working with Julia.

Why should people see Crossing Jerusalem at Park Theatre?

It’s a very honest story.  You can look at it on many levels.  It’s a story about a family and their cracks, their longings, wishes and fears, all being heightened in a situation of conflict. It makes you behave very different and to tackle the Israeli conflict will always be difficult and challenging.  What’s really refreshing about this production is that it’s very honest about what people do to each other and how they feel.  It’s very visceral and true to the core of how we treat each other.

Crossing Jerusalem – Written and Directed by Julia Pascal

 

Synopsis:  Set during the 2002 intifada, and just before the invasion of Iraq, Crossing Jerusalem is a potent and dynamic exploration of the theatre of war. The play describes 24 hours in the life of an Israeli family who cross Jerusalem to eat in an Arab village. In the course of a single day Arab and Jewish histories burst into the present in the most politically tense city in the world.

 

Venue & Address: Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP

Telephone booking number: 020 7870 6876

Booking website: www.parktheatre.co.uk

Direct link to book tickets online click here

 

Opening and closing dates: Dates: Tues 4 August – Sat 29 August 2015 (Preview 4th and 5th August)

Times: 7.45pm Tues – Sat / Thu & Sat Matinees 3.15pm

Prices: £12.50 Previews / £18 Full / £15 Concessions /

£12.50 Tuesdays Residents with N.London postcode or Under 25s

Crossing Jerusalem Actor Profile: Andy Lucas

Andy Lucas as SAMMY

Welcome to an eight part interview series featuring the cast members of Crossing Jerusalem.  Check back daily for the next installment.

Introduce yourself and tell us about your character in Crossing Jerusalem.

My name is Andy Lucas and I’m playing Sammy in Crossing Jerusalem.  As far as my character goes, I get the feeling I’m the United Nations in this place.  I’m the buffer zone between the Jews and the Muslims, which is a double edged sword.  I get shit from both sides and I get joy from both sides.

Can you relate to your Sammy character at all?

I’m a Libra, that’s my star sign.  Libras likes to have a balance in life and see justice be done.  Consequently to Sammy, it’s frustrating that there is no justice in this situation.  In the play, there’s a confrontation between a family of Jews and a Muslim waiter.  They discuss how far back one goes.  How far back do you go before you realize somebody has a right to something you own?  So I can relate to Sammy being frustrated and not being to help.  I can also relate to Sammy just wanting a peaceful and quiet life.  Not being religious or overtly political, because that way lies illumination.

Sammy’s restaurant seems to be one of the few constants in Jerusalem. Can you elaborate more about Sammy’s importance to this society?

Both Alistair Toovey and Waleed Elgadi say something very similar in the play.  No matter what goes on, no matter who’s in charge, you always seem to survive.  There’s two ways to look at it.  You can either be the vulture that survives on carrying after the bloodbath, or you can look upon it as being the water carrier, being someone that facilitates people being able to live together.  There are only two professions that you can’t do without.  One is a funeral director and the other someone that makes and sells food.  You need to eat.  Luckily for Sammy, he has chosen the restaurant side and not the funeral side.

How has working under renowned writer and director Julia Pascal?

I think through her we’ve done amazing well since it’s been the 5th day of rehearsals.  We’re going to have what we call a ‘stagger through’ which is a run very early in the rehearsal process.  I think we all have done remarkably well.  I think Alistair mentioned that it’s both a privilege and a boom to have the writer and director in the room at the same time.  That’s not always the situation.  Sometimes the case is that you can’t criticize the writing because the writer isn’t there, and then you can’t complain about the directing to the writer because they’re one in the same person.  Julia has been amazingly generous and complimentary.

Why should people see Crossing Jerusalem at Park Theatre?

Good question since you’re going to spend good money to see something that can be harrowing at times.  It’s quite sad at certain moments.  I think the reason I chose to do this is because, the way Julia wrote it, it’s very even handed.  She bad mouths and praises Jews, Muslims, and Christians.  She gives a balanced account of what it must feel like being surrounded by death every day.  God forbid we have a terrorist attack and live traumatized for the next 10 years, but these people live it every single day of their lives.  I can’t imagine how it must be like.

I think the reason why I’d like people to experience Crossing Jerusalem is to see what life’s like, but to think, “Can I offer some solution?” “Can I help in the way I approach things?” “Can I not look at everybody who has a different opinion as me like a gorilla or a terrorist?” “Can I not put everybody down who’s a different generation to me?”  “Can I understand that?” Maybe if all did that we might have less war, war, war, and more jaw, jaw, jaw.

Crossing Jerusalem – Written and Directed by Julia Pascal

Synopsis: Set during the 2002 intifada, and just before the invasion of Iraq, Crossing Jerusalem is a potent and dynamic exploration of the theatre of war. The play describes 24 hours in the life of an Israeli family who cross Jerusalem to eat in an Arab village. In the course of a single day Arab and Jewish histories burst into the present in the most politically tense city in the world.

Venue & Address: Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP
Telephone booking number: 020 7870 6876
Booking website: www.parktheatre.co.uk
Direct link to book tickets online click here

Opening and closing dates: Dates: Tues 4 August – Sat 29 August 2015 (Preview 4th and 5th August)
Times: 7.45pm Tues – Sat / Thu & Sat Matinees 3.15pm
Prices: £12.50 Previews / £18 Full / £15 Concessions /
£12.50 Tuesdays Residents with N.London postcode or Under 25s