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:
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