THE STORIES: FOREIGN BODIES centers around a mother and daughter who, after a lifetime of miscommunication, are able to connect in the unlikeliest of ways. Rise, a young woman in her early 30s, impulsively joins a Jewish Sacred Burial Society. By doing so, she not only comes to terms with her mother’s death, but discovers, through memory, a woman she had never really known. A “Tahara” (washing) is performed as the members of the society join in this loving, personal ritual which is as much an affirmation of life as it is an evocation of how we let it go.
In WHITE DAYS Sandy decides to save the passion in her marriage by going to a “Mikveh” (Jewish ritual bath). Because the Mikveh involves putting limits on her sex life, and is considered an archaic custom by the modern society in which she lives, her husband and her mother are horrified. As Sandy tries to justify her choice in what becomes an often humorous battle with her mother and husband, she also finds herself confronting powerful feelings of her own about intimacy, marriage and sex.
In SHOOTING SOULS, Devi, the attendant at the Mikveh, prepares for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) along with her religious community. She gathers with other Jews for the “Tashlich,” the casting off of sins by throwing them into a body of water and saying prayers. Devi, always devoutly observant, finds herself unhappily pregnant for the sixth time. As she wrestles with her anger towards God and her community, she begins to breathe life into a new soul—herself. Through several encounters—sometimes funny, sometimes sad—with her family, her Rabbi and a sometimes enemy of the Rabbi’s wife, Devi learns more about sin, perfection, children, expectation and forgiveness than she thought possible.
Three playlets that follow the lives of 9 people who become involved with sacred Jewish rituals in both humorous and intimate ways.
“Jenna Zark,…has bothered to look somewhere new—or so old it’s new—for journeys by women we seldom get to know in the theater.” —Newsday (NY).
“Zark draws the women with remarkable compassion and humor. This…play is as much about passionate love as it is about the need for rituals that give us a way to honor ourselves. And it’s about independence of spirit, the dignity that small, private acts…bring to ordinary lives.” —Variety.
“This is a writer of warm promise whose dialogue is true, humor sharp and characters honest.” —Hollywood Reporter.